There are few details, but MHA for Labrador West Graham Letto tells the Aurora that after years of fighting against cuts in pensions and medical benefits to Wabush Mine pensioners there is good news.
Wabush Mines closed in 2014 and the parent company, Cliffs Natural Resources, subsequently filed for bankruptcy. The pension fund was underfunded by some $50 million, and workers were considered unsecured creditors. In 2016, workers had their monthly pensions reduced, and medical benefits were cut off.
Eventually the matter ended up in the Court of Appeal, when the provincial government asked for an interpretation of the Pension Benefits act. A decision released in January ruled the company has the obligation to fully fund the obligations of the pension fund, and workers were then considered secured creditors.
Letto explained a class action suit (civil lawsuit) was launched but Cliffs proposed mediation.
He said preliminary news is that $40 million will be put into the pension funds of the hourly and staff workers.
Letto says there is no information of how that will be distributed, but he says lawyers for the union and staff workers are working on the details. He says he hopes to get more information as soon as details are worked out and will share it with the pensioners.
The Aurora spoke briefly with Mayor of Wabush Ron Barron as he was boarding a flight back to Wabush. Barron was at meeting relating to the pension matters and said he will speak with the Aurora when he returns.