McMaster Workers Turn Down Contract Offer

September 4, 2009, 12:00 PM EST

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Workers at McMaster University have turned down a contract offer in a vote forced by university administration. The vote took place September 2 and 3 and was turned down by a margin of more than 61 per cent.

The vote was ordered by the university after four months of negotiations between CAW Local 555 and McMaster failed to produce a negotiated settlement, with the university refusing to budge on demands for contract roll-backs on pensions, post-retirement benefits and job evaluations.

"Our members at McMaster have refused to be bullied by the university into accepting an inferior contract with unnecessary concessions," said Matt Root, CAW Local 555 president. "The pension plan is nearly fully funded, so there is no reason for the university to introduce a two-tier pension plan for new hires."

CAW Local 555 will return to the bargaining table with the university. No dates have yet been set to resume talks.

"McMaster has been incredibly aggressive in its communications to the workers, attempting to scare people into voting in favour of the contract. Obviously, workers at McMaster saw through these efforts and recognized that what the university is proposing could have long term negative consequences for their work lives and retirement security."

CAW Local 555 represents 2,100 workers at McMaster University in medical research, administrative support, technical and library services and printing.

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