The Company has been in CCAA for the last number of months. From the onset, the applicants have dealt with their workers and the Union that represents them, Local 2251, in a unilateral rather than cooperative manner. This is a departure from all the other restructurings.
We have been through a number of restructurings. However, this is the first time that the Company has filed a motion to address all grievances on a without prejudice and a without precedence basis. The result is that the settlements have no precedential value, issues are not resolved and in fact the Union has had to resort to further grievances on Health and Safety, Scheduling and other issues.
Your negotiating committee signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in order to access privileged information which would allow the Union to make informed decisions. The result has been that the Union has been very limited to the information it could share with its members. The Company on the other hand is free to provide whatever information it wishes and they have done so through their intranet.
This gives the Company an unfair advantage regarding the information that is released to our members.
The Union is very dissatisfied with the SISP process and disagrees that it was robust. Although Local Union 2251 is identified as one of the consultation parties, Local 2251 was not involved in a material way. Being informed of a decision is not being involved in the making of the decision.
It has been suggested by the Company that they expect the USW will be in support of the offer. Local Union 2251 was NOT involved in the selection of KPS as a bidder. Local Union 2251 was NOT involved in the selection of KPS as a successful bidder. The Company does not have the right to expect anything of the Local Union except that the Local Union will act in the best interest of its members.
When and if Local Union 2251 decides to support an offer, we will inform the members first.
We have put everyone on notice that if they wish to talk to us regarding contract and benefit issues, then they must supply the Union with a letter that releases the Union from the Non-Disclosure Agreement regarding those matters. Local Union 2251 has always been transparent with its members regarding negotiations and it does not intend to enter into secret negotiations where the result would be that the members would only be given a yes no decision over a memorandum of agreement.
We stand in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters at US Steel Hamilton and Lake Erie who are also involved in a CCAA. Like them, we will continue to meet with any and all bidders or interested parties to discuss solutions for a successful restructuring that has our jobs, our pensions, and benefits kept intact.
We have successfully restructured a number of times and each and every time the restructuring was successful, the company became successful, the company was subsequently sold and became debt laden and a victim of the market. A long term solution is only available if the restructured owner intends to run the company with a view of keeping it.
In closing, as stated earlier, your negotiating committee remains committed to a successful restructuring of the company that is based on a sound business plan and fair treatment of its workers and retirees. A business plan that is based on cost reductions through labour cuts whether it is workforce reductions or benefit reductions is not a long term successful company.
The reason for this press release is the Union does not have the ability to communicate with its members effectively.
The only method we have to communicate with our members in a broad based and timely manner is the media.