TORONTO, July 7, 2015 /CNW/ - A recent unanimous decision by the Divisional Court of Ontario puts former workers at a Navistar plant in Southwestern Ontario significantly closer to getting the pension money they are owed, their union says.
"This is an incredible victory for Navistar workers and their families," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "Unifor will continue to provide the best representation to ensure these workers receive a fair and equitable settlement."
In a decision released Friday, the court dismissed an appeal by Navistar of past Financial Services Tribunal rulings that there should be a broad group of workers participating in the windup of the pension plan, ruling that members of Unifor Locals 35 and 127 who left the company, for whatever reason, between February 1, 2009 and July 28, 2011 should be in the windup group.
Production at the plant stopped in June 2009, with the company announcing the plant's permanent closure in July 2011, leading to a partial windup of the pension plan.
This means that all such workers in the windup group aged 55 or older and with at least 10 years of credited service will be entitled to, at a minimum, a special early retirement benefit. As well, any worker in the windup group with at least 55 points based on combined age and service will be able to "grow into" a special early retirement benefit. The court also determined that all laid off or disabled workers should get a supplementary 0.9 year of credited service.
"This court decision does not resolve all matters, but is a big step forward for these workers," said Unifor National Representative Jim Mitchell.
Friday's decision means an estimated $28 million for retirees from the plant, which once employed about 1,000 workers and office staff. The actual windup of the plan will determine how much each worker gets, and there is still a closure agreement to be negotiated, covering such issues as severance.
"Unifor will continue to advocate on behalf of these workers, as we have all through this process," Mitchell said. "We urge Navistar to return to the table and close all outstanding matters for their employees and our members."
To see the complete ruling, go to unifor.org/en/whats-new/news/navistar-updates
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including more than 96,000 in manufacturing. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.