Unions dig in on DB pensions

But solidarity weak among younger union members
By Gordon Sova
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/17/2006

At the national level, unions in Canada are fighting to protect their pensions, especially defined benefit plans.

According to management-side labour lawyer and negotiator Jamie Knight of Filion, Wakely, Thorup, Angeletti in Toronto, the leadership of the United Steelworkers has been especially active in this regard. “The Steelworkers are strongly encouraging a hard line on defined benefit pensions. They view conversion to defined contribution as a fundamental concession and want it to be a strike issue.”

Things often look different on the shop floor than they do in the arena of public policy debate. Considerations that sway union members, just like voters and shareholders, are often economic. However, the way these issues assert themselves, the way they are seen by individuals, may be quite specific.