Steelworkers urge quick passage of pension reform in Nova Scotia



    HALIFAX, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario/Atlantic
Director Wayne Fraser says the union is hoping for quick passage of pension
reform legislation introduced Friday by the Nova Scotia government and
supported by all parties.
    "The current legislation allows companies, solvent or not, to escape
their pension obligations," said Fraser, adding that USW members at the
now-closed TrentonWorks are victims of pension underfunding by TrentonWorks
owner, Oregon-based Greenbrier Companies Inc.
    "This is a profitable company that chose to take the profits made by Nova
Scotians and build a new plant in Mexico, moving our jobs there. Adding insult
to injury, the company did not fully fund its pension obligations, which meant
all past, present and future retirees would have much less to live on in
retirement."
    Unamended, the current legislation allows companies like Greenbrier to
escape its obligations. The proposed changes to the Pension Benefits Act would
enforce full funding of private sector pension plans.
    "Most importantly for our members at TrentonWorks, this change will apply
to Greenbrier," said Fraser. "Our members will receive the pensions they
negotiated once this legislation is passed. We urge all members of the Nova
Scotia legislature to move quickly to pass this amendment - for the benefit of
all Nova Scotians."
    Fraser added that the union should be part of an advisory panel to review
pension plans. The creation of the panel was also announced Friday by the Nova
Scotia Minister of Labour.
    "Our union has proven expertise in the field of private pension plans and
we are absolutely prepared to offer that expertise to the government," he
said.





For further information:

For further information: Marie Kelly, (Assistant Director USW District
6), (416) 243-8792, (416) 705-3627; Lawrence McKay, (USW Representative),
(902) 752-1344, (902) 759-7486


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