March 15, 2008
A meeting was held on March 6, 2008 between representatives of the employee groups (CUPE, QUFA and QUSA) and the Administration to continue discussion of issues pertaining to the Queen’s University Pension Plan. This was the first such meeting held since late November 2007. At that time, the employee group representatives had expressed strong opposition to changes that the Board of Trustees proposed to make to the governance structure of the Pension Plan. In early December at the well-attended and lively Annual Meeting of the Pension Plan, both active and retired Plan members added their voices in opposition to the changes.
At the March 6 meeting, we were pleased to hear that the Board has withdrawn the proposal to establish a new Board Advisory Committee on Pensions. Instead, the Board is now considering amendments to the constitution of the existing Pension Committee. These proposed amendments were presented to the employee groups both verbally and in point-form at the March 6 meeting. A review of these amendments indicates that the Administration now appears willing to listen to and address our major concerns regarding the Board’s previous proposal directed at significantly changing the governance structure of the Pension Plan. Although encouraged by what we heard at that meeting (which essentially is the information that has now been placed on the Queen’s webpage by the administration) we have yet to see a full text version of the proposed revised Pension Committee constitution. The Administration indicated that we will receive this shortly. Once the employee group representatives have had an opportunity to review the written details, we will respond formally to the proposed changes to the constitution.
The employee groups wish to see the governance issue laid to rest as soon as possible. This will enable the parties to return to the central issue; namely, discussion of possible changes to the provisions of the Pension Plan.
QUFA continues to work closely with CUPE and QUSA on pension issues and there is a strong sense of solidarity among the employee groups. The apparent positive outcome of our collective effort to publicize and oppose the Board’s attempt to radically change the governance structure of the Plan demonstrates the power of working together.