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News Details

February 10, 2005 - 12:16pm EST
In October of 2004 at the founding conference of the CAW Union in Politics Committee (UPC) delegates from across Canada focused on several issues including inadequate pensions. As a result of that initial conference the CAW National Executive Board has announced a national campaign to improve and protect pensions. On a weekly basis companies declare bankruptcy leaving employees with uncertain futures and pensions that are under funded and not fully protected. We know all to well the price workers pay when a work place closes down, especially as a result of bankruptcy.
Lost are good paying jobs, in some cases outstanding wages owed, vacation pay, termination pay and in far too many cases severance pay. Sadly when pension funds are not fully funded workers and active retirees face cutbacks to their pensions and loss of benefits. Along with that comes not only a loss of major portions of their pension but also dignity in their senior years.
“People work all their life in hopes of retiring with a little dignity and their pensions should not be at risk” Rick Alakas, Unit Chairperson, Stelpipe
CAW Local 523 full understands the precarious position pension benefits in Canada are in. Early last year President Gord Chatwin along with CAW Stelpipe representatives Rick Alakas and Bob McCallion appeared before Welland City Council seeking support for a resolution protecting workers pensions. Local 523 members at Stelpipe, a subsidiary of Stelco are caught up in the company’s court administered restructuring. In January of 2004 Stelco applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for protection from it’s creditors under the Companies Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA). Should the company become insolvent, shortfalls in the pension plan and inadequate funding by Stelco could have serious impacts on the pension and benefits of active and retired workers at Stelpipe and Welland Pipe.
“Legislation allowing claw backs of pensions is wrong and will not be tolerated”. Gord Chatwin, President CAW Local 523.
CAW Local 523 continues to pursue a campaign calling on the provincial government to bolster the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund (PBGF) to ensure adequate funding for pension top ups when a company cannot fulfill their obligations. CAW Local 523 will do everything possible to protect pension plans in the province of Ontario, Canada and of our members. Shortly we will be calling on our members to support or efforts in raising public awareness of the dire straights of pensions and to promote pension reform in this country.
For further information please see related news items or read about the CAW National campaign at www.caw.ca
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Last Updated: February 12, 2005 2:02:31 PM