WHEN: Wednesday, January 27, 10 am
WHERE: Brookfield Asset Management, 181 Bay St., Suite 300
TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Forestry pensioners and their union leaders will occupy the office of Brookfield Asset Management in Toronto, Wednesday at 10 am. The group has a message for CEO, Bruce Flatt, and Board of Directors member Frank McKenna: Respect retired forestry workers and pay their pensions.
"We don't intend to leave these offices until Mr. Flatt and Mr. McKenna get our message," says Gaétan Ménard, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Mr. Ménard is with four retirees - two from the Edmunston mill in New Brunswick, and two from the Thurso mill in Québec.
"As the controlling shareholder of Fraser Papers, with $649 million in profits in 2008, Brookfield Asset Management is planning to purchase Fraser Papers," says Mr. Ménard. "However, it is using the bankruptcy process to get out of its pension obligations."
On January 15, retirees demonstrated in front of the Gatineau offices of Brookfield after being refused a hearing with Mr. Flatt and Mr. McKenna. Last week more than 700 retirees and their supporters sent letters, but neither Mr. Flatt nor Mr. McKenna has so far responded.
"Today's action may seem desperate to some, said Mr. Ménard, "but many of these retirees are in desperate circumstances: they are living on a shoe-string budget and facing pension cuts of up to 40%!
"We demand that Fraser/Brookfield respect its workers and retirees and forgo this shameful, deceptive restructuring plan."
Fraser Papers filed for bankruptcy protection under CCAA last June, and is seeking approval to wind up the pension plans.
CEP is fighting the company's restructuring proposal in federal bankruptcy court, at the political level, and through labour boards filings.
For a backgrounder and financial details, visit: www.cep.ca.
SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
For further information: For further information: Gaétan Ménard at (613) 230-5200 or (819) 775-6980