CUPE calling for meeting with University of Saskatchewan over pension talks

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1975 is calling for an immediate meeting with the University of Saskatchewan’s board of governors to a find a resolution to the bargaining unrest on campus, which includes issues around the pension plan.

The university is proposing to eliminate the current defined benefit plan and replace it with a defined contribution or target-benefit plan. It’s also proposing a five-year wage offer with no increases in the first three years and then a two per cent increase in years four and five with a signing bonus of either $1,500 or $3,000.

Read: Union objects to University of Saskatchewan’s bid to replace DB plan

Talks broke down in January between the union and the university. “In our view, CUPE 1975 is the only party at the table working towards a bargaining resolution,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE 1975, in a press release.

“The university has been recycling the same inadequate pension proposals for over a decade, while CUPE keeps offering innovative and reasonable solutions that would save the university millions of dollars. And to add insult to injury, university leadership is refusing to meet with us to discuss our proposals.”

In December 2018, the CUPE proposed a major reworking of the DB plan into a jointly sponsored pension plan, which would reduce the university’s cost and risk, while sharing plan decision-making with the workers. Similar frameworks have been adopted recently in the university sector across Canada, the union noted in its release.

Read: Carleton touts commitment to DB plan as CUPE strike ends