Carleton University staff take a stand to defend pensions

Determined to stand up for Canadians’ right to security in retirement, staff at Carleton University are preparing to take job action in defense of their pension plan.

“Canadians know that they can no longer take their pensions for granted; workers everywhere, from Sears to Stelco, can attest to that,” said Jerrett Clark, president of Local 2424 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents some 900 administrative, technical, and library staff at Carleton.

“That’s why my colleagues and I will fight hard to keep the protections we currently have for our pension plan.”

The dedicated staff members who “make Carleton work” have identified the protection of their pension plan as the issue most important to them in current contract negotiations. The strength of their commitment was evident in a vote held earlier by the union, when members delivered a 93 per cent strike vote.

Clark is confident of CUPE members’ steadfast support for the fight for pension fairness. He is equally confident that the union’s negotiators, in a sincere attempt to reach a deal, have made every effort to accommodate the university’s concerns.

Unfortunately, Carleton has made all outstanding contract issues dependent on the union’s acceptance of its latest pension offer – a deal that CUPE leaders say will jeopardize members’ ability to protect their retirement futures, as well as the retirement of future workers.

“The university says it’s trying to ensure consistent language across collective agreements at Carleton,” Clark pointed out. “But this claim is hardly credible when you consider the wide range of agreements that cover thousands of workers at the university.

“Rights, benefits, and protections vary across all collective agreements at Carleton. Unions understand and respect the rights of other groups to negotiate their own terms and conditions.

“We’re simply calling on Carleton to extend the same recognition to CUPE 2424, so that our members can continue to provide the top-quality services that make the university work for students, faculty and staff.”

The deadline for a strike or lockout of members of CUPE 2424 at Carleton is set for Monday, March 5