Local 1998 bargains for fairness, wage gains at University of Toronto Schools

Following a one-year contract rollover due to the COVID-19 pandemic, administrative and student services staff at the University of Toronto Schools (UTS), members of USW Local 1998, have ratified a new two-year contract, retroactive to July 1, 2021.

In addition to wage gains, the collective agreement for the 28-member unit includes an exciting new wage structure that brings the Local 1998 agreement into line with the staff’s teacher colleagues who are OSSTF members (Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation).

The new deal includes annual wage increases of 2% and 2.5%, plus an additional $1,250 a year for employees after five years of service, and that additional lump sum increases by 2% a year.

The innovative wage structure recognizes long-standing employees. An additional $1,250 is added on in a similar fashion after 10 years of service, 15, 20 and so on.

The staff work in administration, student services, guidance and security at the prestigious university preparatory school that enrols students from grades 7-12.

Other important gains include stronger language and a fair and transparent process around workload that means members can rely on the collective agreement to ensure processes are applied evenly for everyone.

Another priority achieved by the members was to negotiate alternative work arrangements, so members could ask for a hybrid schedule including working from home part-time or requesting a compressed workweek.

Members voted for the new agreement by 90%.

“While many of us continued to work on-site at the school throughout the pandemic, staff also demonstrated that we’re effective and productive while working from home. Now, we have a process for staff to request hybrid options going forward,” said Martin Aiello, Unit Chair for Local 1998 members at UTS.

“Local 1998 has again won benefits improvements for UTS staff,” said John Ankenman, USW Local 1998 President. “The contract includes an increase in major dental coverage, and has combined paramedical coverage to a maximum of $2,000 a year, instead of smaller caps for specific services such as physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care.”

“Steelworkers continue to bargain in better times,” said Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director. “Local 1998 has achieved an innovative contract that recognizes the hard work and dedication of these loyal staff who kept the school running throughout the pandemic.”

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