University of Windsor contract talks with WUFA: Frequently Asked Questions

Current negotiations with the Windsor University Faculty Association will have a long-lasting impact on the University and its ability to attract and retain the best people, provide the best student experience, and live within its means.

As part of an ongoing communication effort, the following frequently asked questions have been compiled for your reference. This list will be updated as needed.

1. Where are we in the contract negotiation process?

The summer was spent discussing non-monetary issues. WUFA’s non-monetary proposals would cost the university an estimated $4 million of annual base funding, and due to this expense, a resolution for these issues was not obtained. WUFA filed for conciliation before bargaining on the monetary proposals such as pension cost sharing and salaries could begin.

2. What would cost sharing mean for members of the Faculty Pension Plan?

The University’s increasing pension costs have been detailed in President’s Updates and town hall meetings so that the entire campus community is aware of them. Update #13 addressed these costs in detail. The Faculty Plan is a hybrid plan, with a Money Purchase component and a Minimum Guarantee Benefit (MGB) component. Plan members have been making pension contributions of 6 percent of their salary, which funds only the Money Purchase component of the Plan.

The funding of the Faculty Plan, as currently structured and without change, will see the University paying an amount equal to 18 percent of members’ salaries to the Plan and members paying 6 percent. This is because members do not contribute to the cost of the MGB, with those costs borne fully by the University.  The MGB costs to the University are estimated to be $9.4 million, or just over 12 percent of members’ salaries, in addition to the 6 percent it pays as matching contributions to the Money Purchase component. These escalating costs to the University are not sustainable.

Cost sharing would move us to a more equitable sharing of the full costs of the pension plan. By comparison, members of the Employee Pension Plan, which include all other union and non-union employees, share equally in the entire costs of their Plan. Full cost sharing of the Faculty Plan would significantly help the University reduce its deficit position in the operating budget.

3. What happens next?

The University believes that a fair and fiscally responsible agreement can be reached with the assistance of a conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour. Conciliation dates are scheduled for September 12, 14, 19, 22 and 23.