MEDIA RELEASE: Dalhousie Staff Reject Employer’s Final Offer, Poised to Strike
Approximately 844 NSGEU members who work at Dalhousie University in administrative and technical support bargaining unit roles are poised to strike after their employer has refused to remove a proposal that would strip them of the new Federal Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement.
“This employer is playing hardball and risking further disruption to Dal students already tumultuous academic year by trying to effectively steal from our members’ pension plan,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean.
“The last thing our members want after the year we have all been through collectively is to have to strike, but the employer is forcing them to take this action to try and protect their retirement benefits.”
The Local 77/92 bargaining committee has been at the bargaining table with the employer for seven months, trying to achieve a fair deal for their members.
Administration at Dalhousie has been trying to weaken the employer-sponsored pension plan for more than 20 years. Members are required to pay 6% of their pay toward Dal pension premiums and the employer is responsible for the investment and funding of the Plan. That is the agreement our members have with the employer and that is the agreement we want them to uphold.
The employer has tabled language that will change that agreement. They want the recent Federal CPP enhancements that are supposed to go to the members to instead subsidize their own responsibilities to the Dal pension plan. Dal also wants to change the plan so that indexation for current and future retirees would be substantially reduced and perhaps eliminated.
Heading into this round of bargaining, Dalhousie initially tried to scare members into accepting concessions in their collective agreement by claiming enrollment would be down significantly because of COVID. However, that is inaccurate: Dal experienced a record year of enrollment in 2020/2021, they have a balanced budget, they have millions of dollars in reserves from previous years’ surpluses and the provincial government provided Dal with $9.5 million in extra funding to address COVID-related expenses.
“Using COVID as an excuse to strip retirement benefits from members during a pandemic is a new low for any employer. These members – and the students at Dal – deserve much better than this,” said MacLean.
Approximately 844 members of NSGEU Local 77 and 92 work at Dalhousie campuses in Halifax, and the Agricultural College in Truro and New Brunswick. They work in a variety of occupations, including IT support and administration.
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 31,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.
For more information, or to arrange an interview NSGEU President Jason MacLean, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer, 902-471-1781 (cell)
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