Employer incentivizes eligible members to retire; YUFA still awaiting information on retirees benefits plan

In October of 2021 YUFA agreed to settle a grievance on pension indexation by accepting significant new funding for our retiree benefits program. The Memorandum of Understanding commits the parties to meet in the “first half of 2022” to conclude an agreement before July 1, 2022. Unfortunately, the employer has thus far been unable or unwilling to share information YUFA has requested about the current retiree benefits plan and near-term retirement projections that would allow YUFA and its benefits consultant to develop a proposal for plan improvements. In response to the employer’s frustrating delays we have asked for the arbitrator who helped the parties fashion the settlement to convene a meeting of the parties to facilitate this process.

The current delay is particularly unfortunate as a number of members are currently considering whether to accept retirement incentive offers made pursuant to the new collective agreement reached in bargaining two months ago. Many members who have contacted YUFA have voiced their concern that health and dental benefits for retired YUFA members remain weak compared to the benefits available to active members and compared to benefits plans for retired faculty at many other Ontario universities.

It is regrettable that the employer’s delays are making it much harder for members to foresee how or whether the retiree benefits might be improved on the basis of the October settlement. The terms of the settlement provide for the intervention of the arbitrator after July 1st if the parties cannot reach agreement on a new benefits plan.

In light of the above, all YUFA members considering decisions about whether to accept offers under the recently negotiated retirement incentive program - or to make other retirement plans - should be aware that the retiree benefits issue remains unsettled. It is unclear whether the employer would be prepared to extend the deadline (currently late May in most cases) for individual members to allow them to make a fully informed decision about these offers.

To assist us in in this process, it would be helpful to know how many members have been offered the new retirement incentive program. If you received this letter of offer, kindly email [email protected] with the subject heading, retirement incentive program, so we can better track, support and negotiate for members considering retirement through this program. Members contemplating retirement can also access the PowerPoint slides presented at the April 14th YUFA’s retirement workshop here.