TORONTO, Feb. 25, 2019 /CNW/ - Staff at the University of Toronto, the University of Guelph and Queen's University, members of United Steelworkers (USW) local unions, have taken a step closer to improved retirement security for members by voting in favour of a multi-university pension plan (UPP).
"With their strong support for this new defined-benefit pension plan, our members have taken a step forward for long-term retirement security. We value the improved stability of this plan that has been designed specifically for those who work in the university sector," said Kelly J. Orser, President of USW Local 2010 representing staff at Queen's University.
The proposed UPP is a jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) that includes six labour groups – three staff unions and three faculty associations at the University of Toronto, the University of Guelph and Queen's University. The USW is the largest union at each of the three universities, accounting for approximately one third of the 18,000 people covered by the proposed plan.
The JSPP model provides employee groups with joint governance over the new plan – one of the goals of the participating employee groups.
"This approval vote by our members is a vote of confidence in our process as well as the outcome. Not only do our university staff keep a defined benefit pension, they gain a say in the governance, which was missing in the previous structure," said Liz Cherry, President of USW Local 4120, representing staff at the University of Guelph.
"Transparent communication and ongoing dialogue with members were key to ensuring that members understood the differences between single-university plans and the new multi-university joint sponsorship model," said Colleen Burke, President of USW Local 1998 representing staff at the University of Toronto.
Each of the six labour groups launched robust multi-media education campaigns, focused on helping members understand the impetus for change and the underlying resolve to protect their financial retirement future.
The new plan is the product of many years of vigorous negotiations between the staff unions and faculty associations and the university administrations.
USW Local 1998 at the University of Toronto, USW Local 4120 at the University of Guelph and USW Local 2010 at Queen's University worked collaboratively with the faculty groups at the three universities and represent the major labour groups in the proposed University Pension Plan (UPP).
Other employee groups at the three universities have yet to vote on the UPP, and retired members will also participate in the provincially mandated consent/objection process this spring.
"It shows what can be achieved when bargaining agents representing different groups of employees work together and innovate for the common good of our members' retirement security," said Alex McKinnon, Research Department Leader with the USW and UPP Founding Co-Chair.
More information on the proposed plan is available on the University Pension Plan website, www.universitypension.ca.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Liz Cherry, USW Local 4120 President, [email protected], 519-766-4120; Kelly J. Orser, USW Local 2010 President, [email protected], 613-533-2693; Colleen Burke, USW Local 1998 President, [email protected], 416-506-9090 ext. 224; Alex McKinnon, USW Research Department, [email protected], 416-544-5981; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, [email protected], 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221