March 7, 2017 at 6:30 PM
Unifor 2002 would like to clarify some misunderstandings surrounding the severance payout negotiated and ratified by Unifor members in August of 2016.
The local union, along with the Unifor national office’s pension and benefits department, has received reports from members who assert to have been given incorrect payout sums from the Company. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was ratified in part with the Unifor-GTAA collective agreement clearly indicates the intent of the parties as it relates to the severance language. The language states:
Whereas the parties have reached agreement to remove the severance language from the collective agreement for resignation, retirement, death and release for incapacity/disability the parties agree to the following with respect to payout for existing members of the Unifor bargaining unit:
Total payout will not exceed $12,528,000.00. Payout amounts for employees will be confirmed to the GTAA by Unifor.
The GTAA will send all employees a letter confirming their payout amount and their ability to elect to transfer all, or a portion, of their payout into a Sun Life RRSP, no later than September 15, 2016. For this purpose, It Is the responsibility of the employee to ensure they have the available contribution room within their Sun Life RRSP for the elected transfer.
Employees must respond to the GTAA with their election no later than the end of the business day on November 15, 2016.
Should an employee not respond to the GTAA by November 15, 2016, they will receive an automatic payout by the end of December, 2016.
The GTAA will have all payments and RRSP transfers completed by December 31, 2016.
Payouts will be at the rate of pay for employees as of July 31, 2016.
Prior to completion of the 2016 negotiations, the Company sought a solution to the unfunded liability and they were prepared to buy their way out. It was debated and an agreement was reached. Unifor 2002 obtained and utilized the services of Unifor's Pension and Benefits representatives during these discussions.
The Unifor Bargaining Committee presented the issue and solution at ratification honestly and forthright. There was no intent to mislead or deceive any of our members regarding the payout. Whether someone changed severance to compensation is not the issue. Tax amounts are "as is" and not subject to collective bargaining. The union bargained access to RRSP to minimize exposure.
There were implementation issues by the GTAA, which were unfortunate, but have all been documented.
It is the understanding of Unifor 2002, that the district office representatives vetted the amounts paid to our members.
The current Unifor-GTAA collective bargaining agreement was reached on July 27, 2016 and will be in force until July 31, 2019.
For more information, please contact:
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President
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