White Birch retirees suffer final defeat

Retirees at the Quebec White Paper Mill failed in their last attempt to recoup lost sums after renegotiating their pension plan with Unifor that represented them.

The final appeal by the group of retirees who filed a lawsuit against the union that defended them was not upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court Thursday morning. “It’s a huge disappointment,” admits Jill Bidard, who headed the group of retired employees de White Birch.

In 2010, White Birch filed for protection under the Creditor Arrangement Act. A few months later, an agreement was reached in court to keep the factory open, on the condition that new collective agreements be signed, which included abandoning the old pension plan.

After two years of negotiations, White Birch sent a “final” offer to terminate existing retirement plans. The agreement meant a massive loss of about 30% of retirees’ pensions, but it allowed existing employees to keep their jobs.

They believe they have been excluded from negotiations between Unifor and BD White Birch to invest to relaunch the Stadacona plant operations. “We have been ignored by our union,” Mr. Bedard still believes, even if the courts decide otherwise.

White Birch Retired Employees Group, which represents 456 people, is seeking $ 68 million in damages against the union. The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal rejected the request to file the case before the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday.

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