Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

CEP to represent Hourly Retirees at CCAA hearings…

Last week Justice Sewell granted a CEP application to represent unionized retirees at the CCAA hearings against Catalyst Paper. The CEP is now the authorized representatives of former members (retirees) who were now entitled to ongoing benefits from the Company.

The Pulp & Paper Industry Pension Plan is fully funded so monthly pension cheques are not in danger.

The benefits that aren’t secure are bridging, MSP, retiree extended health benefit payments, as well as top up pension benefits for some past members who were offered an incentive to retire.
Catalyst has met all it’s commitments up to this point in the process.

March 13, 2012 Posted by | - Benefits | 2 Comments

Catalyst Files for Creditor Protection…

Jan 31, 2012 – Catalyst anounced today that to facilitate an orderly restructuring of its business and operations, they were filing for an Initial Order from the Supreme Court of British Columbia to commence proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). The terms and conditions of the restructuring plan have not yet been determined by the company.

Catalyst had been working on a plan to retructure it’s debt. There were several conditions of that plan that needed to be met before Jan 31st. Unfortunately they came up short on two of those conditions

(a) a new labour agreement ratified by all six union locals at the company’s BC mills and
(b) two-thirds support of all 2014 and 2016 bondholders.

The CEP is retaining legal council to represent the interests of both past and current members at the CCAA proceedings.
Along with all the 1123/630 retirees, there are still many members on LTDI benefits from Catalyst, and I appreciate that they all have questions about how they could be impacted by this news.

Health & Welfare Benefits, Bridging, and Pension top-ups are just a few of the several areas of concern that people have been calling about, but at this time we are unsure of the answers. As we find out more information, I will ensure its posted here. Feel free to post any questions you may have, even though we don’t currently have answers, your questions could help us identify other issues that we aren’t even aware exist.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | CEP Issues, General | 8 Comments

Regular rate of Pay arbitration

Ian, Joe and myself were at the DI in Campbell River yesterday attending the rate of pay on layoff arbitration. This was the grievance we launched when the company reset all laid off members to base rate for holiday pay etc, even if you had never worked any time at base rate. I think the arbitration went well for us with the company giving no opening statement and calling no witnesses. They didn’t even seem to be able to bring forth a coherent argument other than we think no matter how it has been done in the past we can do it our way now. We brought up a member that has worked some as a trades person and was paid one set of stats at his trades rate and the other set at base rate even though he had only worked as a trades person. The company lawyer said they had made a mistake when they paid him at the trades rate and should have paid both at base rate!  As with a lot of the issues we seem to argue over these days it’s another classic case of the company simply changing the rules unilaterally and saying if you don’t like it grieve.  We should get a decision within a few weeks.
It was funny that we sat with two Human resources people (including ours) and they never said anything about talking about the proposal they had put forward or gave us a heads up that they were mailing things to our members houses.  It’s possible they didn’t know!   These days most things are run directly from head office in Richmond with no local input requested or required.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | CEP Issues | 7 Comments

Banking Annual Vacation

Recently there have been some issues with members wishing to bank some of their annual vacation from 2009. We have clarified this with the company and they wil be allowing members to bank vacation as per the contract.
If you wish to bank some of your vacation there are some rules.
1) You can’t bank vacation for which you have received holiday pay in advance.
2) You can bank a maximum of 2 weeks of annual vacation up to a maximum of 6 weeks in the bank.
For those members that have not used or banked their annual vacation allotment the company is booking them for you starting April 30th and working backwards, IE you have two weeks left they are booking the last two weeks of April as your vacation. This will affect your EI if you are on it!

March 17, 2010 Posted by | CEP Issues | 2 Comments

Update #5 EI appeal

Last Monday I was in Courtenay to argue the group “EI holiday pay in advance appeal” in front of the EI umpire. It was me on one side and a lawyer on the other. Only time will tell who wins this round, but I’m betting on the lawyer. The umpire has promised a decision between 60 and 90 days.

January 13, 2010 Posted by | - Benefits | 5 Comments

Wage Caucus

We were in Vancouver last week at the Western Region Pulp & Paper Wage Caucus. Here are details about a few of the bigger issues we discussed from the agenda. Details here !

November 3, 2009 Posted by | CEP Issues, News | Leave a comment

Update #4 EI appeal

So the saga goes on…

Just a couple of weeks ago we received a favourable decision from the board of referees over our appeal of how E/I treated holiday pay in advance.
Yesterday we got confirmation that the EI commission is appealing that decision. They will now go in front of the umpire to see if he will overturn the board of referees decision. It’s starting to feel like dealing with Catalyst (except at least EI gives you answers to your questions)

I’ll post more details as soon as I get them.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | - Benefits | Leave a comment

Pension Article

In the Globe and Mail today there was an interesting article on our Pulp and Paper Pension Plan. Most of you will recognise Dave Schaub our previous rep. It’s thanks to him and the rest of the boards govenance that our plan is not in trouble as so many others are. It wasn’t too many years ago that people thought they were being too conservative but in hindsight they have been proven to be right.

Here’s a link to the article saved as a PDF.Part three pension

October 20, 2009 Posted by | - Benefits | 1 Comment