Stelpipe and Welland Pipe Unifor Local 523 Retirees
January 4, 2016
The Ontario government committed to establishing a $3 million transition fund to help support retirees and beneficiaries. Implementation details are subject to the approval of the court, and the details of the fund will be sent to retirees by mail following court approval.
To read the statement from the Government of Ontario about the Transition Fund for US Steel Canada Retirees please click here
To read a letter from Unifor Local 523 President Rick Alakas to affected retirees about the transition fund, click here.
Learn more about the Transition Fund by reading this memorandum backgrounder
If you are eligible, under 65 years of age, and need emergency health assistance apply for the Transition Fund.
Download the Transition Fund application and submit the appropriate Green Shield form.
Details of the Government’s Transition Fund for US Steel retirees were posted on the law firm, Koskie Minsky, who is working with Unifor. Learn more about the fund at: http://kmlaw.ca/cases/usscrepcounsel/
December 18, 2015
Unifor wants to inform you that there are various options for benefit programs and support to meet your drug, dental and medical needs.
For more information on these options please directly contact the following representatives for details.
NOTE: If you want to enroll in the individual or family health benefits with no evidence of good health or requirement of a medical questionnaire, plan you must act quickly. Prosum has extended the deadline to 60 days following the date of expiry of the temporary government benefit transition fund, which is expected to be March of 2016. Don’t miss out on this offer, contact Prosum Health Benefits today; see contact below.
Unifor local 523 is here to assist you during this challenging time.
For more information please contact:
Rick Alakas, President at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone (905) 735-5340
Prosum Health Benefits offered to individuals or families through Green Shield Canada’s LINK and Zone programs
For those under 65 years who are seeking financial support or grants for medical costs you can apply for a Trillium Drug Program.
For those over 65 years who want more information on the Ontario Drug Benefit coverage, please contact:
www.health.gov.on.ca Phone: 1-866-532-3161
Over 330 Unifor retirees from Stelpipe and Welland Pipe attended an important information meeting to learn about options after their benefits were terminated by U.S. Steel Canada.
The session opened with Rick Alakas, President of Local 523, in heavy spirits saying, “everyone in here is someone’s grandparent, or parent – this is an outright shame; no one should be treated like this.” In a quick response to defend retirees and post-retirement benefits, the local backed by the National union took legal action. After reviewing the outdated law, the Ontario Superior Court ruled in favour of the corporation and benefits for retirees, their spouse and dependents were immediately terminated.
Unifor spearheaded negotiations with Green Shield, and their service provider Prosum Health to set up individual and family benefits for retirees. “It feels like we were handcuffed. It’s not enough, but we have done the most with what we can, especially when retirees need it most,” said Alakas.
Prosum Health will provide different cost options and a loyalty program for retirees who will receive a yearly 5% cheque on premiums. During the meeting retirees also received information on a grant available from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for those under the age of 65 years.
Losing benefits was a heavy blow to workers who built the company and took small wage increases in the hopes of a secure retirement said Lonny Petrachenko, a retiree who worked for Stelpipe for 31 years. “I am disgusted at how the Harper government allowed this to happen with its blessing by opening the boarders to US corporations who cry poor and abandon workers, and then the court says it’s ok to steal everything from us that we work our whole lives for.”
Retirees were quick to thank the union for their efforts to establish communication, relay information and continue to defend them. Brian Taylor who was Stelpipe for 30 years said, “This was a difficult, complicated situation, but the union handled it well.” Terry Rogers, who worked with the company for 35 added “The Union, I give them credit, they went after the company; they even had to fight to get our mailing addresses.” A piece of advice Rogers shared was, “workers in the union need to remember we are all in the same boat. Employers everywhere follow a trend to see what each other does and what they can get away with, so the whole union needs to continue stepping up to end these attacks.”
Members leaving the session reported it was an informative and gave much to ponder. The next step for retirees is to decide by January 11, 2016 to enroll in a benefits program. The question remaining however on everyone’s mind was how much retirees and the Ontario government will end up paying to cover for corporate greed and legal loopholes supporting the U.S. Steel Canada closure.
For the Local, Alakas says “we will continue to outreach and inform retirees; I can only hope this will spark a retiree Association and bring the community together.”