USW Leadership Key to Pension Security

Groundbreaking work by the USW is expected to achieve a landmark agreement in the near future on pension sustainability for tens of thousands of university employees.

Steelworkers have been working for three years to counter intense pressure from employers and government on the defined-benefit pension plans of USW members and other university employees.

Thanks to USW leadership, a comprehensive agreement may soon be finalized to preserve decent pensions for about 36,000 employees at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and the University of Guelph. The USW represents more than 6,000 office, administrative and technical employees at these universities.

Steelworkers and several other unions are in the final stages of negotiations with the three universities to create a Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan (JSPP) for all employees.

A JSPP is a defined-benefit plan in which employers and employees share responsibility for plan governance and funding. The plan spearheaded by the USW will create long-term pension sustainability for members by combining a large pool of assets, reducing costs and providing better investment opportunities.

Creating the JSPP has been a challenging undertaking, requiring co-operation of several unions in negotiations with multiple university administrations. Steelworkers’ leadership in confronting this challenge has been crucial in achieving pension security for our members.

This article appears in the Summer 2017 edition of News@6 magazine.

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