GM Canada, Unifor agreement covers DB pension changes

The union representing General Motors of Canada Co. employees in Ontario have ratified a new three-year collective agreement that removes changes to a legacy defined benefit plan as part of ongoing pension discussions.

The deal restores the legacy DB plan by removing a member contribution requirement and a 30-year cap on credited service introduced in 2009, says Corey Vermey, director of the pensions and benefits department at Unifor.

The DB change takes place ahead of additional pension discussions for employees in the organization’s hybrid plan (hired between 2012 and 2016) and defined contribution plan (those hired within the last four years), he adds.

Read: DC pension deal with GM to ‘certainly influence’ talks with Ford, Chrysler: lawyer

In this round of negotiations, the union stipulated that there will be a more serious conversation about moving to the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology pension plan’s DBplus in the future, says Vermey, noting the union sees this as a solution for all employees hired after 2016. “In 2023, there needs to be a conversation about the hybrid members and whether it makes sense for them to move to the legacy DB or to CAAT.”

Unifor also clarified that employees hired since 2016, who aren’t entitled to health benefits in retirement, will join an employee life and health trust. And the union will also discuss the administration of a new $500 medical cannabis benefit for employees, he adds.

Read: Ford, Unifor agreement tackles pension, medical cannabis, racial inequality

The deal, which was reached ahead of Unifor’s strike deadline on Nov. 4, includes workers at GM plants in the Ontario municipalities of Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock.

The agreement also includes five per cent increases to hourly rates, a $7,250 productivity and quality bonus, a total of $4,000 in inflation protection bonuses, shift premiums and restoration of the 20 per cent wage differential for skilled trades, according to a press release from the union.

Unifor and GM have also agreed to create an anti-racism action plan and establish a new racial justice advocate in the workplace and. The company will also provide up to 10 paid days of domestic violence leave.

GM didn’t respond to Benefits Canada’s request for a comment.

Read: GM Canada pension plan reaches fully funded status