A dispute over pension funding at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) will lead to job action later this month unless the university addresses pension issues, say leaders of CUPE 233, representing maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers at the school in downtown Toronto.

“After months of negotiations, the university still hasn’t recognized that it cannot make unilateral changes to our pension plan and must treat all workers equitably,” said Jason Vigilante, Vice-President of CUPE 233.

Two main issues remain unresolved: wage increases that reflect the rising cost of living in Toronto and the pension.

TMU unilaterally increased pension contributions for workers at the university in 2021. Following arbitration, the university corrected the situation for faculty but did not do so for other workers. Standard practice in the sector is for employee contributions to be fixed and only changed during collective bargaining.

“What TMU has done is create an inequitable situation, where custodial and maintenance workers contribute more than faculty. This is patently unfair and should have been resolved before bargaining even commenced. Instead, it looks like the university will force us to take job action,” said Vigilante.

CUPE 233 members will hold a rally to provide information to the university community at noon on Wednesday, March 29, together with members of OPSEU 596, who represent academic and administrative support and research assistants at the university. Scheduled speakers at the rally include Ontario Federation of Labour Executive Vice-President Janice Folk-Dawson, OPSEU President JP Hornick, and David Simao, CUPE’s university sector committee chair.