To all Members of the (former) Unit R55 of USW Local 1944
The status of retirees in USW Local 1944 and a Report on the USW Local 1944 Convention, held in Burnaby, on March 20 to March 22, 2018
On March 16th, 2018 the President of the USW international, Leo Gerard imposed a new set of bylaws, (formerly the TWU Constitution) on USW Local 1944. These new bylaws decertified Unit R55. These new bylaws extinguished the rights of Retirees.
On March 17, the Executive of R55 asked the International President of the USW if retired members were still eligible to run for the position of Pension Trustee? Were the delegates of Unit R55 still eligible to vote for Pension Trustee. These are rights that the retirees have had for the last 10 years.
On March 18th the President of the USW responded in writing that since retirees and R55 members were no longer members in good standing of the USW they could not vote for or stand for the position of Pension Trustee.
Subsequently on March 20th at the convention, the President of USW local 1944, Lee Riggs ruled that Carol Nagy, the current retiree trustee on the pension board is not eligible to run for her position on the board. On March 22 the President ruled the nomination of two retirees for the position of Pension Trustee was out of order because they were no longer members in good standing, due to the fact that retirees have no status in the USW.
Background to these decisions
When the merger talks with the USW began, local R55 was in contact with the Executive of the TWU to express the member’s concern about the election of TWPP Trustees. In 2013, the President of the TWU, Lee Riggs gave his written commitment that he would strike a committee comprised of R55 executive members, TWU Executive Members, the Constitution Committee and Pension Trustees to ensure that the Retirees would maintain their voice and responsibility in the selection of Trustees.
No committee was ever struck by the President despite repeated requests in writing and at convention.
In 2015, the merger agreement was signed between the TWU and the USW. One of the statements in that agreement was “The merger of the TWU and the USW does not alter the structure, governance or funding of the TWPP.”
In January 2018 a committee was struck to deal with the integration of the TWU constitution or bylaws and the USW local Amalgamated Bylaws. Recommendations were made to the International on what changes would be made. While it was recommended to abolish R55, two members of the committee did raise the issue of the commitment made to the retirees. The President of USW 1944 Lee Riggs did attend a meeting with the International after these committee meetings to discuss these changes. We now know that nothing was done to live up to the terms of the merger agreement or the commitment made by the president on the subject of protecting the rights of retirees and UNIT R55 members
At the March 20th Convention (LADM), the delegates of R55 were not allowed to be seated, per the new Bylaws and attended as visitors. We were denied the right to have voice on our status. At the end of Convention day, the president of R55 Rick Fleming and an R55 Delegate Peter Massy met with USW officials in an attempt to resolve this issue. The purpose of the meeting was to find a way to have retired member on the TWPP Board and give the retirees a vote on who that Trustee would be.
We are waiting for an answer. We will update you when we have one and what actions could be taken in the event that there is no satisfactory resolution of this matter.
The Executive of (former) UNIT R55