Steelworkers Improve Wages, Job Security, Conditions at U of T

TORONTO – United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998 members at the University of Toronto have ratified a new collective agreement that improves wages, job security and working conditions.

The three-year collective agreement, to be in effect until June 30, 2020, covers 4,300 administrative and technical employees at the university. USW Local 1998 members voted to approve the contract on Monday.

The agreement includes total wage increases of 6.5%, several improvements in contract language affecting key issues such as job security and enhanced provisions on severance and early retirement bridging.

“This is a concession-free agreement that makes important gains in monetary and non-monetary areas,” said USW Local 1998 President Colleen Burke.

“The bargaining process was very challenging, but our negotiating committee was buoyed by the tremendous support of our members throughout,” Burke said. Prior to reaching a tentative agreement with the university last week, union members had voted 94% in favour of a strike mandate, she noted.

The collective agreement provides a 2.5% wage increase this year, followed by increases of 2% in each of the following two years. The wage increase this year includes a salary adjustment of 0.7%, retroactive to July 1, as an offset to an increase in employee pension contributions.

“We’re pleased that we were able to negotiate this offset, so our across-the-board wage increases were not eroded by the pension contribution increase,” Burke said.

The new contract improves health and education benefits, re-establishes an early-retirement bridge benefit, enhances severance packages and strengthens job security with gains made in the rights, options and re-employment opportunities for employees facing organizational change.

“This collective agreement represents a significant achievement by these employees who have faced a government-led agenda of austerity and demands for concessions,” said Marty Warren.

“I congratulate the members of USW Local 1998 for their solidarity in confronting these challenges head-on and making real gains in their working and living standards.”


For further information:

Colleen Burke, USW Local 1998 President, 647-883-2678, colleen.burke@usw1998.ca
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Omero Landi, USW Area Coordinator, Toronto, 416-977-7274, ext. 224, olandi@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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