Months before the planned closure of the Mabe appliance plant in Montreal, the owners held a barbeque for the workers about to lose their jobs, as thanks for their pledge to work hard up to the very last day of production.
Three days after the plant shut down, the company declared bankruptcy and cut workers’ pensions by 22 per cent, despite promising not to do that.
“They put themselves into bankruptcy,” said Alain Leduc, past president of Unifor Local 501, one of the locals representing workers at MC Commercial.
Leduc was speaking at a Toronto rally of retirees from Locals 501, 504, 513, 533 and 541 and supporters outside a high-end appliance store selling the appliances they once made. They want Mabe to live up to its earlier commitment to maintain pensions and benefits.
The pension cuts alone amount to about $500 a month on average for the retirees. Leduc told the story of one retiree who was diagnosed with cancer, only to find out his life insurance was cut. He now has no insurance to help his family when he’s gone.
“It is very hard,” Leduc said.
Close to 1,500 retirees are affected across Canada.