Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Next Hurdle – Medical Coverage…

For those of us on Layoff, the contractual medical coverage received as an employee of Catalyst will soon be running out… What Now?

Our current collective agreement gives people with one or more years of seniority, the option of continuing their health & welfare coverage for 6 months while on layoff. Any employee who chooses to have their coverage continue is required to pay their portion (that is the 30% of WI & LTD premiums that you’ve always paid).

Some people have been called into work during the layoff period which will result in their benefits continuing for longer than the 6 month period, but for the majority of us, the benefits run out at the end of the 6th month following but not including the month you were laid off in. (Layoff Feb 23rd – Benefits end Aug 31st)

At the end of the 6-month period, the coverages that Catalyst stops paying the premiums for are: BC Medical, Group Term Life Insurance, Accidental Death or Dismemberment Insurance, Medical-Surgical Coverage, Extended Health, Dental, and their 70% of the Weekly Indemnity, and Long Term Disability.

The good news is that by Law, if you were covered by group plans, and that coverage ceases, the Insurance Carriers must allow you to convert to an individual plan. There are time frames to keep in mind. You must apply within 60 days of your loss of group health and dental benefits and you’ll qualify without having to complete a medical questionnaire.

You can also convert from Group Term Life Insurance to an individual plan insuring you for up to the same coverage you had in the group plan (to a maximum of $200,000.00). You need to convert your Life Insurance within 31 days from the time the group coverage ends in order to qualify without having to complete a medical questionnaire.

The bad news is that when you convert to an individual plan the benefits aren’t as generous as what our current plans are and they are costly. No costlier than what is currently being paid, but when the entire premium is the responsibility of the individual you get a sudden appreciation for the benefits package in our collective agreement.

CEP Representative Dave Schaub is trying to arrange to have an insurance broker work through all the questions that we have about plan conversion, which carrier has the best conversion plan, and whether there are any other alternatives open to members.  If you have specific concerns you can post them to the blog or just email them to me at ian@cep1123.bc.ca .

You can go to any of these sites to get an idea about what they offer for conversion plans and about premium costs and limitations on benefits.

Extended Health and DentalPacific Blue Cross
Another PBC Plan fromThe Youbou Timberless Society
And another plan fromBC Federation of Retired Union Members
Another example …. –  Manulife

Life InsuranceManulife

If you were in the group of employees laid off in November and didn’t get any work after you were laid off, July 30th is the end of the 60 day window to convert to an individual benefits plan. If you aren’t covered through a spouses plan and haven’t made arrangements for coverage yet, or don’t think you need coverage, give us a call at the office to talk about the options and possible consequences of not having a benefits plan.

Please Note: When it comes to Benefit Plans, there are many options available to our members, the attached links are only examples.  We aren’t advocating for any particular plan. We just want people to start looking at what options are available and get an idea about what would work for them.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | - Benefits | 3 Comments

Group Challenge to EI position on Holiday Pay in Advance

Joe Cizmic has been working on behalf of the Local to appeal the E/I decision that penalized people that took their holiday pay in advance. Late last week he received confirmation from Employment Insurance that they will allow a representative appeal to go forward on this issue. What this means is the union will be arguing the case of a primary appellant.  The decision rendered by the appellate board will then be binding ONLY for those people who have consented to be part of the group appeal.

For those of you unaware, the issue arose when Elk employees were told by E/I that taking holiday pay in advance wouldn’t affect their E/I benefits. Then when they took holiday pay in advance exactly the opposite happened and the holiday pay amounts were deducted off their benefits.

If this happened to you and you haven’t pursued your own personal appeal, you can sign on to this representative (group) appeal. For those members that have already filled an individual appeal and wish to join the group appeal, a withdraw form ( available from Joe Cizmic 926-0705 or at the union hall) must be filled out and faxed to E/I as soon as possible.

To be part of the group appeal, members are required to complete a representative appeal form (available from Joe Cizmic 926-0705 or at the union hall) and return it to the union hall. We will fax it as we need to keep a list of people that are part of the appeal. E/I have given us a 2 week window to collect all the forms starting yesterday.  As soon as the completed form is faxed to E/I, the agreed deduction will be held in abeyance until the resolve of the appeal.  It’s important to note, that once the union has provide E/I the list of appellants, we will not be able to add people.

Below are links to the forms you will need , you can fill them out and take them in or fax them to the union hall at 250-286-6219 and Laurie will send them to EI for you.If you know Elk workers that are out of town direct them to this blog if they are interested in appealing.

The form for catalyst withdrawal

The form for catalyst appeal

July 21, 2009 Posted by | - Government, - Mill News | 5 Comments