Members of CUPE Local 233 (maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers) and OPSEU Local 596 (Academic & Administrative Supports, Research Assistants) at Toronto Metropolitan University are up against an employer bent on creating an unfair and inequitable pension plan, and on suppressing their wages at a time of record inflation.
Traditionally, employers and unions negotiate any increase in employee contributions to a pension plan. And in a single-employer defined benefit pension like this one, the employer is responsible for any shortfall. It’s one of many reasons why we fought hard to establish defined benefit plans for as many workers as possible across Canada.
But in 2021, Toronto Metropolitan University unilaterally increased the amount workers are paying – with no negotiation with the unions. Following arbitration, the University corrected their error for faculty members, but not with any other workers.
As a result, workers are paying more than faculty for the same pension. This two-tier pension structure is clearly unfair.
At the same time, the university secretly began claiming any pension contributions made by them *or by employees* above the legal minimum required as an employer-only “credit.” So, while hiking payments for workers, the university is claiming the pension owes the employer $8 million. Instead of negotiating higher rates to cover a pension shortfall, TMU is unilaterally raising employee contributions and then, apparently, claiming that money as its own.