Steelworkers Reach Four-Year Contract with Queen’s

KINGSTON – More than 1,000 United Steelworkers (USW) members have reached a new, four-year collective agreement with Queen’s University.

Members of USW Local 2010, who work as office, administrative and technical staff at Queen’s, this week ratified a tentative agreement negotiated by their union and the university.

Despite attempts by the provincial government and the university to impose a zero-increase austerity agenda, the new agreement includes monetary increases in addition to improvements in contract language.

Employees will receive a lump-sum payment in the contract’s first year, followed by across-the-board increases in each of the following three years.

Employees who have not reached the top pay level in their respective wage grids also will receive additional “step” increases in their grids in each of the last three years of the contract. Increases for most of these employees will average 2.5% annually over the contract’s final three years.

The new agreement also improves contract language affecting terms and conditions of employment, on issues including seniority and job postings, union representation and a strengthened mandate for a joint labour-management committee.

The union and the university also have agreed to work co-operatively on a proposal to ensure sustainability of the employees’ defined benefit pension plan.

Earlier this year, USW Local 2010 reached a historic co-operation agreement with other unions that represent another 6,000 Queen’s employees, to present a united front to the university to address pension issues.

The unions and the university will examine options for addressing pension funding and solvency issues, such as creating a sector-specific, multi-employer Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan, or JSPP.

“Our members recognize that we have negotiated a fair deal under very difficult circumstances and that we have made improvements that go beyond other agreements reached in this sector,” said USW Local 2010 President Kelly Orser.

“We are now looking to the future and are committed to working with the administration to improve labour relations, which will benefit employees, the university and most importantly our students,” Orser said.

“USW members at Queen’s are to be commended for challenging the austerity agenda that the provincial government and universities have attempted to impose,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“I commend the office, administrative and technical staff at Queen’s for resisting this agenda and for their solidarity in negotiating monetary and other improvements to their collective agreement.”

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Peggy McComb, USW Area Coordinator, 613-546-1177, pmccomb@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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