On December 7, 2015, Walter Energy Canada (the operators of Wolverine Mine) went to court and received an order under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCCA). This process will take months, perhaps up to a year, to complete. While this is a difficult time for the workers of the mine, the United Steelworkers has lawyers to represent you in the process and we will do our best to ensure that we recover the most money possible for you.
While we cannot provide all the answers you may have as to how this will affect you, here are some general answers to basic questions. More information will be posted here.
What is CCAA?
The CCAA is a federal law which allows companies to apply to court for temporary protection from creditors in order to restructure operations and keep the business operating. Often this arrangement includes paying creditors, and employees, less money than they are owed.
What does the December 7, 2015 order mean for the USW?
This means that two actions in B.C. Supreme Court, one seeking a review of an arbitration award denying payment of the Northern Allowance to workers on layoff and the other seeking review of a Labour Relations Board decision awarding wages for the company not giving enough notice of layoff (the Section 54 case), are stayed. No further steps can be taken without the court saying so. We expect these claims will eventually be resolved.
What does the December 7, 2015 order mean for me?
This will unfortunately delay the payment of money you may be owed for the Northern Allowance and the Section 54 case. This may also reduce the severance and termination pay you are will receive if you are not recalled from layoff by April 2016.
Will the mine be sold?
We don’t know, but the Employer has said that it is looking for a buyer.
Will I be recalled before April 2016?
It seems unlikely that any USW workers will be recalled before the recall period expires.
Will I get severance and termination pay?
Yes, if the Company is still in CCAA proceedings in April 2016 and the mine does not restart by then, however you will be an unsecured creditor. It is likely that Company will propose a plan to the creditors which only pays a percentage of the amount owed. At this point, we have no idea what amount that will be.
Will I get payment for the Section 54 case or Northern Allowance?
Both matters are under review by the Court. We will work with the Company to determine how to resolve these outstanding claims.
What do I need to do?
At this point, you should assume that you will not be recalled to employment. You should ensure that you keep the Union up to date with your contact information as we will likely need to contact you during the CCAA process.
Where can I get more information?
The Court has appointed a monitor, an accounting firm, to oversee the CCAA process. You can get more documents on their website.