Some former Leamington Heinz workers not getting pensions
It has been more than 17 months since Heinz closed its Leamington factory.
But now CTV News has learned that some pensions aren't being paid out to the unionized workers who are eligible to enter retirement.
It’s a pension that covers more than 600 former Heinz employees.
Heinz has two different pension plans. According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, one plan, the one covering salaried workers for about 100 former employees, has been paid out and is now closed.
But FSCO says the other one, for unionized workers, is in a deficit and the payments can't be paid out.
It’s a new blow to employees, in what's been a difficult year.
Brian Young worked for Heinz in Leamington for 30 years.
“When Heinz closed they give me a fairly good severance pay of $70,000,” says Young.
When that was gone, the 56-year-old was eligible to retire in September, but the month came and went with no cheque.
“All they kept telling me was well we're hoping it'll be October. We're hoping this, we're hoping that, but the fact is, I can't live on hope.”
It’s now mid-November and Young still doesn’t have any income.
“My bills are falling behind, things are starting to cave in on me,” says Young.
CTV News has learned Young is covered by a pension that is currently under-funded. According to the FSCO, Heinz sponsored two defined benefit plans. The plan for non-represented salaried employees wound up last march.
The second, called the employees revised pension plan, is in a deficit. FSCO officials say Heinz has until July of 2018 to remove the deficit and start making payments.
“You wonder, how are they investing? What are they investing in?” says Young.
MPP Rick Nicholls says so far he's only been contacted by Young, about this problem, but Nicholls adds he's willing to pressure Ontario's Finance Minister Charles Sousa to speed up the process.
Heinz officials wouldn't comment on this story and the union representing former Heinz workers, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 459, declined my request for an interview, but the president Rolando Cabral did say he's hopeful the pension will be fully funded by the end of the year.