We are pleased to announce that the members of CUPE Locals 1230 and 3261 have voted overwhelmingly in favour of conversion of the existing University of Toronto pension plan to the University Pension Plan, a newly created multi-employer jointly sponsored defined benefit pension plan. At a time when defined benefit pensions are under attack, we expect that the increased security of the UPP and its joint governance framework will insulate the plan from political pressures and protect the retirement security of our members for decades to come.
In January 2019, the Executives of both CUPE Locals 1230 and 3261 decided to put the question of conversion to the new University Pension Plan (UPP) to their respective members by holding pension consent votes. It was not a decision lightly undertaken, but one that considered the importance of labour solidarity at the University of Toronto (UofT). Also, it was the duty of both Locals to represent their members’ interests to the best of their abilities.
After a month-long campaign in support of the amended UPP, CUPE Locals 1230 and 3261 voted this week for the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Employer and the conversion of our existing pension plan to the new UPP. The MoA will provide our current pension plan members with a salary increase starting July 1, 2019. The increase will offset the hike in our contributions as UofT shifts to a 50/50 contribution schedule in its current pension plan. Meanwhile, our consent to participate in the new UPP will allow both Unions to have a say in the governance of the plan going forward – something that was lacking under the existing plan.
In detail, a majority of CUPE Local 1230 members voted on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The result was unanimous—100% of the Local’s members supported the MoA and the conversion to the new UPP. A large turnout of CUPE Local 3261 members voted throughout the week, with the last vote taking place late yesterday afternoon. The result was equally impressive—with 91% of the Local’s members supporting the MoA and the conversion to the new UPP.
As we move forward, we expect to work closely with our labour partners at UofT, the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998 and the UofT Faculty Association (UTFA). At this time we would like to thank USW and their president, Colleen Burke, and UTFA and their president, Cynthia Messenger, for their support without which we would not have been able to organize our votes on such short notice. Also, thanks to UofT’s Labour Relations for providing us with the time to organize and conduct the votes. Last, but not least, both Locals wish to express our appreciation to our interim CUPE National Representative, Rebecca Strung, for devoting the entire month of February to assist us in this process.
We look forward to meetings with representatives of the employer from all three universities (UofT, the University of Guelph, and Queen’s University), as well as all the labour groups involved, as we move ahead with the UPP.
Wasyl Sydorenko, President CUPE Local 1230
Allan James, President CUPE Local 3261