Pension Concessions Blocking New CAW Deal at McMaster

June 17, 2009, 3:13 PM EST

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McMaster University's proposals to prevent new hires from accessing current pension benefits has drawn fierce criticism from CAW leadership at the national and local level, and is the major barrier to reaching a tentative settlement between the union and university administration, said CAW Local 555 President Matthew Root.

"A two-tier pension plan will undermine the future viability of the defined benefit plan for current members, and leave all new hires in an incredibly precarious position," Root said. "Our bargaining committee will not go down this path."

The bargaining committee addressed CAW members working at McMaster University at a meeting held in the Burridge Gymnasium on the Hamilton campus grounds June 16 to discuss the progress of negotiations. The committee was joined by CAW Economist Jim Stanford and Peggy Nash, Assistant to CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"There's no question the university administration is trying to take advantage of the current economic crisis to seek concessions on pensions and post-retirement benefits even though they are economically sound and the pension plan is sufficiently funded," said Nash.

The union has been in contract talks with the university since April 20, and filed for conciliation on June 11.  No bargaining deadline has yet been set.

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