Bargaining snapshot: Top 10 issues

cupe1975Bargaining

  1. CUPE 1975 members are working harder. Students and square footage of buildings on campus have grown significantly over recent decades. But CUPE 1975 job numbers haven’t grown at all. Senior Administrator positions, on the other hand, have doubled over this time! What’s our reward for working harder? Your employer is proposing to gut your collective agreement with massive wage and pension concessions.
  2. The University can afford our proposal. Our pension plan currently costs less than one per cent of the University’s annual budget. The Chair of the University’s Board of Governors says that the University’s strong credit rating is “a key indicator of the University’s excellent financial management and financial situation.” Other pension plans on campus (even though they are significantly inferior plans) cost much more per member, because CUPE 1975 members are not paid as much as other workers on campus.
  3. The University’s proposed “signing bonus” is being used to gloss over a 3 year wage freeze. A lump sum like a “signing bonus” is paid only once, whereas the wage increases CUPE 1975 is proposing are paid every year for the rest of your career (including on a retroactive basis).
  4. CUPE 1975’s wage proposal would mean more retro pay than the “signing bonus” for the vast majority of members, with the real bonus of higher wages going forward for all.
  5. The University’s proposed wage freeze is a massive, permanent concession that will mean tens of thousands of dollars in losses over the working and retired lives of most CUPE 1975 members. Within a decade, the average CUPE member would have lost a total of about $25,000 from the gaping hole in their annual earnings left by the 0/0/0.
  6. The University wants to replace your modest but secure defined benefit pension with one of two inferior pension options. They want to shift all of the pension risks onto the backs of their hard working staff, who will be left not knowing what they will receive in pension each year of retirement. Insecure pensions earned going forward could be worth around 20-25% less than the modest but secure benefits workers currently earn. But since the University is pushing a non-guaranteed plan, these cuts could be even greater. Workers deserve more.
  7. The vast majority of public sector workers and University workers in Canada continue to be members of DB pension plans. The University of Saskatchewan should be no different.
  8. CUPE 1975 has proposed a full compromise which would share the risks of funding secure DB benefits between active members and the University, on top of saving the University millions each year in pension costs. Our reasonable compromise proposal was rejected by the University since it did not represent a full capitulation to their pension agenda.
  9. Past pension promises are under attack in Canada. Other governments have implemented or are considering implementing legal changes that would allow employers to walk away from pension promises they have already made to workers and retirees, replacing guaranteed pensions retroactively with insecure target benefit pensions. If the Government of Saskatchewan followed suit, the University could implement similar changes, unless CUPE 1975 has joint control of your pension plan. This is what we are trying to achieve in this round of bargaining. The stakes are incredibly high for all active and retired members.
  10. Our pension plan is sustainable. Most plans fell into deficit after the global financial crisis a decade ago, but our plan has been steadily recovering since and is now essentially back in balance. University pension costs have come down dramatically over the past year, with further reductions projected in coming years. When the plan was in surplus for decades prior to the financial crisis, the University was happy to take $28 million of “partial contribution holidays” over 17 years – essentially using our pension surplus to pay portions of their own required contributions to the plan.

 

Local 1975 is fighting to protect our pension plan.  We are fighting for fair wage increases. We are fighting for you.

And with your help, we can win.

What can you do?