Unifor, TEAM, IBEW and retirees win Supreme Court appeal
WINNIPEG, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - In a decision today, the Supreme Court
of Canada upheld a lower court ruling that the pension surplus of
$43.3-million from employee contributions that existed when the former
Manitoba Telephone System (MTS) was privatized in 1997, belonged to the
workers and retirees, and must be repaid.
Unifor (formerly the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union)
Local 7 has been fighting this case, along with the Telecommunication
Employees Association of Manitoba Inc. (TEAM), the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and a group of retirees, since
Today the Supreme Court unanimously concluded that MTS wrongfully made
use of the initial surplus as MTS received the full benefit of the
surplus and the members received nothing.
"This is a great day and a long time coming for the unionized workers at
MTS. A 17-year battle to wrestle back from a corporation, money that
belonged to the workers," said Paul McKie, Unifor National
Representative. "Many people in the three unions, the retiree's group,
our legal team, worked tirelessly to get justice for our MTS members
and their pension," said McKie.
The Supreme Court of Canada has reinstated the decision of the trial
judge, where the judge ordered that the parties negotiate utilization
of the funds and arrive at a mutually agreeable implementation process,
and if necessary, submit further evidence and/or submissions to the
court for determination of utilization of the funds and the
The Supreme Court of Canada further ordered that costs throughout the
proceedings shall be paid on a solicitor and client basis out of the
new plan trust fund, meaning all legal costs incurred by the unions
shall be repaid.
"This decision is a strong indication from the highest court in the
country that pension surpluses cannot be used as corporate slush
funds," said Jerry Dias. "It reinforces the idea that pensions are a
deferred wage, agreed to as part of a contract promised to the worker
for their efforts."
SOURCE: Unifor the union
For further information:
Unifor Local 7: Paul McKie, 204.487.5591 or cell at 204.223.9421
Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba, IFPTE Local 161: Bob Linsdell, Executive Director, Cell: 204-791-2734
IBEW Local 435: Bruce Krause, Business Manager, 204-985-4239