Navistar's Appeal of Pension Ruling Shameful, CAW says

April 3, 2013, 4:10 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza said he is outraged to learn that Navistar Corporation is appealing a recent Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) decision aimed at protecting the pension rights of over 800 former employees.

 "It is shameful that this company willingly wants to spend the time and money to continue fighting its former workers, many of whom spent their entire lives producing the heavy trucks that Navistar sold to earn profits for its shareholders and executives," Lewenza said. 

The FSCO decision issued in March of this year covered four key issues in dispute between the CAW and Navistar: the date of the wind up of the pension plan; the early retirement programs in the pension agreement; pension entitlements of those who retired before the wind up date of July 28, 2011 and credited service upon layoff.  The appeal was filed earlier today.

In its decision, the commission sided with the workers on all four counts, a move the union considered "just" after the Chatham plant was shuttered more than three-and-a-half years ago.

Lewenza said the appeal exemplifies an arrogance that has characterized Navistar and its approach to workplace relations.

"Rather than accept the FSCO decision Navistar would rather stay on the offensive, keep its former employees in limbo and slash the pension benefits payable to the very workers who lost their jobs because of the company's callous decision to close the plant," Lewenza said. "These workers rely on their pension income to help pay the bills and support their families. Obviously, this is of little concern to the company."

"Our union will continue to provide full support to the Chatham workers and remain committed to seeing justice served on this matter," Lewenza said. "We will also continue to call on both provincial and federal governments for greater legislative support to avoid these types of disputes from happening in the first place."

Once the appeal process has been initiated, both union and company representatives will appear before a three-member tribunal of the FSCO. The timeline for that tribunal hearing has not yet been determined.

The CAW is representing members of Locals 127 and 35, formerly employed at the Navistar truck plant in Chatham, Ontario. Navistar idled the plant in June 2009, but only announced the official closure in July 2011.

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