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

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

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

Update#2 – Group Challenge to EI position on Holiday Pay in Advance

Joe Cizmic and I were in Nanaimo again yesterday (Oct 8th) to give further clarifications to the EI appeal board over our group appeal regarding Holiday Pay in Advance.
The last time we met with them in September we gave them some new information about our contract. They talked to the commission and this time they had more questions for us. Basically a clarification of our position. We gave them the answers and now we wait again for the decision expected within 2 weeks.


October 9, 2009 Posted by | - Benefits | Leave a comment

Update-Group Challenge to EI position on Holiday Pay in Advance

Joe Cizmic and myself were in Naniamo today to present our group appeal to the EI appeal board. The board consists of three members of the community that are trained in the employment act.They told us we would get a written answer to our appeal within the next two weeks. I will update the blog as soon as we hear.

-The EI board secretary called me today asking for some further information on how holidays work. At least that means we weren’t dismissed out of hand.

-The EI board of appeal has sent a recommendation to EI commission  that they relook at our situation. This is one more step along the road of getting our situation resolved.

September 10, 2009 Posted by | - Benefits, - Government | 1 Comment

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

Conflict between E/I and Vacation Pay in Advance

Many 630/1123 members took some or all of thier 2009 Vacation pay in advance.  Despite many being told it wouldn’t effect their E/I claim until the week(s) they actually took the vacation, now people are finding themselves cut off E/I immediately (for the number of weeks they took advanced pay for).

Seems E/I has a different interpretation than the Company does, which shouldn’t come as a huge suprize to anyone.

If you recieved holiday pay in advance and didn’t claim it on your E/I, expect them to claw the E/I back once they find out – and they will.  It may even be better to explain your mistake than have them rule that you were trying to defraud the system and put your whole claim in jeopardy.

June 8, 2009 Posted by | - Benefits | 5 Comments