President's Message - May 13, 2020

Members and Retirees of Local 5328

Some recalls next week and a few more the following week. 

 Over the last 6 weeks we have been asking the company to apply for the CEWS, Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, a Federal Government program. They held off and delayed but they applied for the Quebec plants. Well, finally, they have put us in the mix!! 

 What is CEWS,  how does it work, what are the benefits? 

 Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy allows company’s to pay their employees, active or inactive, working or laid off, 75% of their base  wage, up to a maximum $847.00 per week gross. The federal government then reimburses the company. 

 Let’s look at the financial differences between the CEWS and CERB. 

 CERB $500.00 per week plus $150.00 per week not taxed.  You will be taxed at next taxation period. Benefits extended to 3 months from date of layoff. No vacation entitlement or hours accumulated No pension contributions on a DC plan and no pension credits on a DB plan. SUB is paid on credits and once the $200,000 is at $70,000 it’s reduced to $100.00 per week until depleted. 

 CEWS, $847.00 max per week gross and all deductions apply. Tax, EI, dues. SUB can not be paid out on this program. 

 On the CEWS program, if laid of,  you are considered an “inactive” employee. What that means is, you continue benefits until the end of the program. Currently June 6,  At that point, you would be laid off again and your 3 months of benefits would start over again from that point. All hours on this program count towards your 1040 for vacations and vacation pay is determined by earnings the 4 weeks prior to your vacation. 

 When program ends, you will be laid off and SUB, if government allows, will continue. 

 You will also receive up to a 180 hours of contributions to your pension plan paid at the full amount for those on the Defined Contribution Plan. 

 This program will be retroactive to March 15. Our first layoff was March 29 so what that means is, if you were waiting for SUB, you will not receive any because it’s back dated and the CEWS does not allow SUB pay.  What it also means is, if you were laid off on March 29, you will receive a deposit of 7weeks x $847.00 gross. Please keep in mind, you will probably have to pay back the CERB come tax time. 


For you reference, here are 

Questions and Answers that were asked to the company and USW Research and Development department. 

 1- Is the CEWS retroactive with full payment to March 15. 

A- Yes. Example if you have been laid off for 8 weeks and qualify for the full amount, you will receive a cheque for gross 8x$847.00 minus deductions. 

 2- CEWS ends June 6, if government extends, will ArcelorMittal extend as well? 

A- The Company will look at it and if there are no changes to the program, they will consider it upon approval from the local Union. 

 3- Will SUB be paid as well. 

A- No. SUB will cease and no payment will be made retroactive to March 15. If you received any money, you will not have to pay it back. 

 4-If the CEWS comes to an end, will SUB be reinstated. 

A- yes, lay-off would now be considered at that date and benefits will be extended as per CBA, SUB will start at that point. (If government program allows) 

 5- Recall is 3 days opposed to the 10 days. This is to secure that people will return to work on the next schedule. 

 6- Vacations and qualifications as stated in CBA. 

A-Earnings and hours on CEWS will count towards your 1040 and vacation pay will be based on those earnings if your vacation follows your return to work from CEWS. Others, you would not receive any pay for vacation in that scenario. 

 7- Will time on CEWS count towards Pensions?

 A-Defined Contribution plans members will receive credited, 180 hours at full contribution  rate. Defined Benefit plan members will be credited 1 month if laid off  for an extended period of time. (No current DBP members are laid off) 

 8- What is the advantage to the company? 

A- There have been deficiencies in regards to company/union relations that need repair. This is to strengthen the relationship. True answer, A) It will help retain people from going to other jobs and leaving the company. 

B) Every employee active or inactive will be on the CEWS program. Those working will have nothing changed and will follow the CBA but the company will receive 75% of their wage to a maximum of $58,700, back from the federal government. Free money! 

 The program was sent to the USW Research and Development dept and they endorsed it fully! 

 Our executive and committee met today with our staff Rep, Tom Walsh, and it was unanimous on acceptance.  

 I want to thank the great people that make up this Union Executive and Committees and the dedication they put in to servicing our members!! Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to get this! 

 In solidarity, 

Anthony Ciaramella 
USW Local 5328