University of Toronto workers sign new contract

'Concession free agreement' reached: Union president
||Last Updated: 09/12/2017

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998 members at the University of Toronto ratified a new collective agreement Sept. 11 that improves wages, job security and working conditions, said the union.

The three-year collective agreement — to be in effect until June 30, 2020 — covers 4,300 administrative and technical employees at the university.

The agreement includes total wage increases of 6.5 per cent, several improvements in contract language affecting key issues such as job security and enhanced provisions on severance and early retirement bridging, according to USW.

"This is a concession-free agreement that makes important gains in monetary and non-monetary areas," said Colleen Burke, USW Local 1998 president.

Prior to reaching a tentative agreement with the university last week, union members had voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike mandate, said Burke.

The collective agreement provides a 2.5 per cent wage increase this year, followed by increases of two per cent in each of the following two years. The wage increase this year includes a salary adjustment of 0.7 per cent, retroactive to July 1, as an offset to an increase in employee pension contributions, said the union.

"We're pleased that we were able to negotiate this offset, so our across-the-board wage increases were not eroded by the pension contribution increase," said Burke.

The new contract improves health and education benefits, re-establishes an early-retirement bridge benefit, enhances severance packages and strengthens job security with gains made in the rights, options and re-employment opportunities for employees facing organizational change, according to the USW.

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