Bankruptcy protection law protested

“Workers are not like other creditors…They create the wealth and are not responsible for the way management uses or misuses that revenue. It’s time the courts understood that.”

The Toronto Star
July 16, 2004

Bankruptcy protection law protested
Steelworkers say companies abuse law. Severance wanted during restructuring.

More than 50 workers protested outside a University Ave. court house yesterday against use of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act by steel makers Ivaco Inc. and Stelco Inc.

Their union, the United Steelworkers of America, is campaigning to change the law, saying companies are increasingly infringing on employee rights and contract provisions while operating under the act.

“Workers are not like other creditors,” said Wayne Fraser, the union’s director for Ontario and the Atlantic region. “They create the wealth and are not responsible for the way management uses or misuses that revenue. It’s time the courts understood that.”

Inside the court, a judge heard arguments on whether laid-off workers at Ivaco should be paid severance while the company restructures.

Union lawyer Ken Rosenberg argued that Ontario Superior Court Justice James Farley’s initial order granting Ivaco creditor protection indirectly gave it the right to ignore provisions of 11 collective agreements.

Company lawyer Matthew Gottlief said Ivaco has complied with its collective agreements except in “very minor ways,” but can’t agree to the severance payments without creditor approval.

The hearing continues today.

Star Staff and Wire Services


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