Unifor supporting retirees hit by U.S. Steel decision

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor is closely monitoring a recent court decision stripping U.S. Steel retirees of their health benefits, on behalf of 300 Unifor retirees from the former Stelpipe and Welland Pipe plants in Welland.

"U.S. Steel has truly let down the retirees and the people of Welland with its heavy-handed tactics leading to this court decision," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

"Unifor stands behind its retirees, and that is what we are doing in Welland."

In a short decision last Friday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel approved a plan for U.S. Steel to sever its Canadian operations, and to stop paying for health and prescription drug benefits for more than 20,000 pensioners – including 300 at Stelpipe, now named Energex Tube.

No decision on whether to appeal the ruling can be made until a full ruling, including the reasons for the decision, is released by the court, Unifor Local 523 President Rick Alakas said. No date has been given for the release of the full ruling.

"This has been an incredibly stressful time for our retirees," Alakas said.

"Unifor has been keeping a close eye on these proceedings, and is helping retirees throughout this process. We will continue to do that."

Under the court decision, benefits for retirees were cut off October 9. Alakas advises that any benefit claims up to that date must be submitted by October 31 in order to be processed under the court ruling. He also encouraged retirees to apply immediately for provincial Trillium benefits.

Stelpipe is a former subsidiary of Stelco, which was purchased by U.S. Steel after Stelpipe become a separate company named Energex Tube.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.


For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.


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