Steelworkers back opposition party agreement to protect pensions

Almost 5 years ago members of Local 5890 started to lobby to protect pensions by meeting with Federal Conservative members from Saskatchewan at the invite of Warren Steinley. It is a much needed change to protect pensions in this country that, at that time NDP MP Scott Duvall was pushing for as well. This is great news that 3 political parties have come together and see the need for change. Below is the release from the Canadian National Director fully supporting this agreement.

OTTAWA – After years of work and advocacy to ensure legal protection for workers’ pensions in case of bankruptcy, the United Steelworkers union (USW) announced its full support today for a new three-party agreement that would finally make these protections a reality.

“Pensions are deferred wages, but over and over again, we’ve seen how current laws allow corporate executives and other creditors get fully paid out while leaving workers with less or none of what they had earned for their retirement,” said USW National Director Marty Warren. “It amounts to theft.”

The agreement was announced today by Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu, Bloc Québécois MP Marilène Gill and NDP MP Daniel Blaikie.

The three parties have agreed to vote Gladu’s bill (C-228) through to committee next week. Once at committee, the parties will vote together to pass important changes to the bill.

The resulting legislation will give priority to paying out pensions as well as termination and severance pay owed to workers in case of bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings. After passing the committee, the three parties will also have the votes to pass it through the House of Commons.

“We’ve been lobbying and working with all the political parties for years on this issue. It’s good to see these three parties listen to our members and get together to put workers ahead of partisan political games. We remain hopeful the Liberals will also support these changes, to make it unanimous,” said USW Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux.

“With the current laws, workers have seen their futures disappear before their eyes, when the pensions they had worked for were ripped away. When this becomes law, it will mean workers in Canada will be able to be much more confident that they’ll be paid what they’re owed,” said Lemieux.

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.