Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Arbitrator rules on who gets retiree benefits…

A few months ago we won an arbitration in which it was ruled that people who were 55 or older when they were severed from Catalyst, qualified for retiree benefits as well. The Union took the position that everyone 55 or older should qualify, and the Company contended that only those individuals who retired immediately after being severed would get the retiree benefits. We were back in front of the Arbitrator on Monday, asking him to clarify who was eligible to receive retiree benefits.
He issued his award today, and unfortunately we were not successful in our bid to have everyone get all retiree benefits.
The award essentially divides people effected into 3 categories.

1) Anyone who retired within the first 8 months following getting their severance would qualify for all retiree benefits (MSP, Extended Health, and Pop-up Bridging).

2) People who retired later than 8 months after receiving severance, but before the initial award was released (May 3, 2012) will receive retiree medical benefits only (MSP, Extended Health, but not Pop-up Bridging)

3) People that didn’t retire before the initial award was released do not qualify for any retiree benefits.

Because Catalyst has just emerged from CCAA, there will be no retro-activity for retiree benefits, they will be implemented as soon as possible on a going forward basis.

Because the award is full of personal details I will not be posting it, but will be contacting effected people to let them know their status.

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October 24, 2012 Posted by | General | 3 Comments

Catalyst set to exit CCAA…….

I have been told that Catalyst expects to exit CCAA tomorrow (Sept13). There are still a few outstanding issues that need to be resolved for members from Elk…
We are still waiting on a ruling about LTD payment increases for members who were on LTD prior to the signing of the 2008 collective agreement. And there are still issues over eligibility of members to get bridging/medical if they didn’t apply for pension immediately upon leaving Catalyst.
Hopefully now that the CCAA is completed, we can get these resolved sooner rather than later.

September 12, 2012 Posted by | General | 1 Comment

Court approves sale of Elk Falls site….

On Aug 28th the courts approved the sale of the Elk Falls mill site land and assets to Pacific Deep Sea Terminals. The closing date of the sale to Pacifica has been pushed back to September 19th so that Schnitzer Steel has more time to wind up the salvage they are currently doing and get off site.

Interestingly, the #5 Paper machine assets that are still there are excluded from the sale,(the amchine – not the building) and the entire Kraftmill (limeplant, recaust, recovery, TG, Digesters and washers) is listed as excepted from the deal, meaning that if Catalyst can sell it, they will split the proceeds with the new owners.

The sales agreement is online: anyone interested in reading it can ClicK Here

August 29, 2012 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Catalyst reports reaching agreement on sale of Elk Falls Site….

Last week Catalyst Paper announced an agreement it reached with Pacifica Deep Sea Terminals Inc for the sale of the Elk site. The $8.6 million deal is expected to close by September 5, 2012.

Pacifica Owner and Director Harold Jahn, says they “intend to transform it into a dynamic industrial park and port facility with the goal of creating 400 full time jobs in the Campbell River region over the next three years.”

This could be good news for Campbell River, tell us what you think?

August 20, 2012 Posted by | General | 7 Comments

Catalyst Restructure plan fails… Sale process to begin.

99.5% of Catalyst Paper‘s secured creditors voted in favour of the company’s restructuring plan. Only 51% of the unsecured creditors voted in favour. Both classes of creditors needed to pass the plan by 66 2/3% in order for it to pass. (the press has been reporting that 64% of the unsecured creditors voted in favour, but the $100 million claim made by the union is being disputed, they rolled that amount in to see if the plan would pass with the disputed votes, but it was still short by 3%)

Since the amended plan of arrangement was not approved at the meetings, Catalyst Paper is now required to commence a sales process.

So whats next for retirees…. Well right now there won’t be any change until we see who the successful bidder is. If the secured creditors “Stalking Horse” bid is successful, then there won’t be any impact, but if other players become involved that could all go out the window. keep your fingers crossed that no-one else wants to bid.

May 24, 2012 Posted by | General | 5 Comments

Arbitration Update…

We ran a number of arbitrations last November, and because of Catalysts current financial difficulties the decision on some was delayed.
Today (May 3) we received the arbitrators decision to the question – whether Employees who were 55 or older when severed under the permanent closure language were eligible to receive retiree benefits and pop-up bridging if they retired.
The Company took the position that employees had to make a choice. If they wanted retiree health benefits and pop-up bridging they had to sever their employment and retire, or they could take their severance, but then they wouldn’t qualify for the retiree benefits and pop-up bridge. It was either one or the other, not both.

Arbitrator Hall has ruled that the Company was incorrect in the application, and that people could sever and get the retiree benefits from the collective agreement.

This award doesn’t apply to a large number of people, but for those that it does apply to, it has huge consequences.

For a PDF copy of the award Click Here

May 3, 2012 Posted by | General | 2 Comments

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

Information for Elk Employees on Disability Benefits.

Click here for a document with details pertaining to Elk Falls employees who are or have been receiving disability benefits, and how the CCAA process may effect you. Disability Questions related to CCAA – February 24 2012

February 29, 2012 Posted by | General | Leave a comment