Another crucial element of our Bargaining Sessions with Bell Canada will be addressed during the week of November 27. In February, Bell demonstrated its apathy toward workers by sending out an email announcing that the company was terminating the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) or as Bell refers to it, Post-Retirement Benefits (PRB) after April 1, 2019.
The announcement by Bell is consistent with the Bell Aliant decision in 2006 that reduced our full retirement benefits to the $1,000 per year OPEBs that retirees currently receive.
Bell did this without any discussions with Unifor ACL at a time when we were just about to begin negotiating our next Collective Agreement.
Your union representatives found that this February announcement by the employer was unilateral, arbitrary and premature considering the opening of our bargaining session was only weeks away.
Unifor ACL sees your OPEBs as deferred wages that members have earned throughout their careers, and taken concessions for over the years to obtain. Your bargaining committee will not stand idly by and let Bell steal them without a fight.
Since Bell purchased Bell Aliant in 2014 the employer has repeatedly attacked the benefits of our workforce in Atlantic Canada. This is deplorable considering the hard work and the dedication of Unifor members. As an entire workforce, members have contributed to bring Bell a very profitable bottom line.
As anticipated in April, the negotiations with Bell are not easy and have been contentious in many
ways. In the coming days your Mobilization Committee, with the full support of your Council will be sending out a reminder to wear your red - t-shirts as a sign of solidarity with your Unifor ACL bargaining team.
Now is an important time to remind Bell that the Atlantic unionized workforce is a viable part of this company, and our members are united and mobilized in support of their bargaining team.
Your Bargaining Team