Walter Energy Canada Holdings - 1974 Plan Claim Dismissed

May 1, 2017

USW Short Version of Court Decision

Today, the BC Supreme Court dismissed a claim by the United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan and Trust ("the 1974 Plan"). The 1974 Plan had asked the Court to apply an American law that essentially holds related companies liable for certain obligations under pension plans and collective agreements, even if some of those companies (in this case Walter Canada), are not parties to the collective agreement or participants in the pension plan in question. The 1974 Plan wanted to have that law applied in British Columbia in order to establish itself as a creditor of Walter Canada, and have Walter Canada held liable for its approximately $1.25 billion unfunded pension liability, even though Walter Canada was not a participating Employer in its pension plan. That is the position that the judge rejected today. The judge also awarded the USW legal costs.

We expect this decision will be appealed, and unfortunately it will take some time for the appeal process to be completed. Payment of money owed to our members may be delayed in the meantime. The 1974 Plan must file their appeal within 21 days, and the Court of Appeal will then make a determination as to whether it will hear the appeal, and if so, whether payments to other creditors including USW members will be delayed until the appeal is over. However, if the Court's decision today stands, we expect that our members will be able to recover the full amount of the money owed to them by Walter Canada.

Click the following link to access the 'Reasons for Judgment' (PDF):
Reasons for Judgment