November 17th, 2020
To: Members of Hotel and Restaurant Workers, Local 779 (“HRW 779”) employed by Sodexo Canada Limited at the Tata Steel Minerals Canada Limited Camp (the “Timmins Camp”) outside Schefferville, Quebec between April 1, 2015 and November 30, 2015.
We write to provide a further update to our December 11, 2019 letter. That letter provides a more detailed background on the history of litigation between the parties, and is available in both English and French. The English version of the letter can be viewed on the Martin Whalen Hennebury and Stamp website here, and the French version of the letter can be viewed here.
In summary, a group grievance was filed on your behalf by HRW 779 on February 20, 2014. The issue was whether Sodexo was bound by the collective agreement between HRW 779 and Construction Labour Relations Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (the “CLRA”). Arbitrator Alcock decided that the CLRA agreement did apply and that Sodexo and HRW Local 779 were bound by its terms as of December 18, 2013. This was affirmed by our Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Sodexo’s appeal. In determining damages, the parties disagreed on how long the collective agreement would continue to apply, and went back before Arbitrator Alcock for a determination of damages in that regard. The final award determined the collective agreement applied until November 30, 2015, which ordered damages of approximately $7,440,000 on February 25, 2019.
Sodexo challenged the damages award by way of judicial review. On October 29, 2019, a judgment from the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ordered that a portion of the $7,440,000.00 in wages and benefits owed to members of HRW 779 be directly and immediately paid to the employees who worked at the Timmins Camp between December 2013 and March 31, 2015, pending the outcome of the judicial review. That amount was approximately $4,490,000.00. The vast majority of that award has already been distributed to the qualifying workers.
Additional wages and benefits owed by Sodexo were held in a trust account until a decision was rendered on a judicial review. Justice McGrath heard Sodexo’s judicial review application on February 5 and 6, 2020. On August 12, 2020 Justice McGrath dismissed Sodexo’s application. The decision can be accessed directly here. As a result of the decision, Sodexo has been ordered to pay employees who worked at the Timmins Camp between April 1, 2015 and November 30, 2015 wages and benefits for that time period. This amount is approximately $3,200,000.00.
As per Arbitrator Alcock’s decision, Sodexo is ordered to pay workers directly the additional wages they are owed, and to pay fund administrators and the union certain other amounts required under the collective agreement. This is the final group of workers who will receive money from the grievance. The amounts owed to each of the 121 workers who worked at the Timmins Camp between April 1, 2015 and November 30, 2015 can be viewed here. At that page there are two lists; one list shows the amounts to be paid to each of the workers, and the other list shows the amounts of the respective benefits to be paid to the benefit funds on their behalf. Interest is included in all amounts. Please disregard any number identified in brackets. These are not amounts payable to workers. The bracketed amounts are a result of a previous overpayment by Sodexo. These amounts are not owed by workers to Sodexo.
The first list has the gross hourly wages, vacation pay, and holiday pay owed to the workers. Union dues will be deducted from this sum. Sodexo will make the usual statutory source deductions. The balance will be paid directly to the workers.
The second list has the amounts to be paid to six different funds in accordance with the CLRA collective agreement. The payments are as follows:
- Pension Plan – There is no pension plan per se. The money will be sent to Benefit Plan Administrators (Atlantic) Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You will be given an election as to how you want the amount forwarded on your behalf to be paid, namely:
- To have the money forwarded by Benefit Plan Administrators to the company who handles RRSP’s for other HRW 779 members;
- To have the money directed to a financial institution of your choice for your purchase of an RRSP; or,
- To have the money paid directly to you.
- Health and Welfare Plan – This amount will also be sent to Benefit Plan Administrators (Atlantic) Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and you will be given an election as to how you want the amount forwarded on your behalf to be paid. The the same three options as above will be available for you to choose from.
- The Promotion Fund and the Recovery Fund amounts will be remitted directly to the union for the goals established by those funds.
- The NLBTC Industry Fund will be remitted to Trades NL, the new name for the previously named Newfoundland and Labrador Building and Construction Trades Council, a provincial council of building trades unions of which HRW 779 is a member.
- The CLRA Industry Fund will be remitted to Construction Labour Relations Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc., the employer organization accredited as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for unionized employers within the industrial/commercial sector of the construction industry of Newfoundland and Labrador.
To receive the contributions made on your behalf to the Pension Plan and the Health and Welfare Fund, you must fill out both the Pension election form and the Health and Welfare election form. The English Pension election form can be found here, and the English Health and Welfare election form can be found here. The French Pension election form can be found here and the French Health and Welfare election form can be found here.
Please read the forms carefully as they outline your options on how you may have the funds paid to you. We recommend you review the options with a financial advisor or accountant as the option you choose may have associated tax implications.
We do not have accurate and up to date contact information for all workers and are asking at this time that if you worked for Sodexo Canada Limited at the Tata Steel Minerals Camp outside Schefferville, Quebec between April 1, 2015 and November 30, 2015, and your name appears on the above mentioned list, contact Emilie Rowe at the contact information below so that she may verify your identity and contact information. Contact by e-mail is strongly encouraged. This will enable the union to assist Sodexo and the Fund Administrator in making payments as soon as possible. If you have already provided Emilie Rowe with your information, you do not need to contact her again unless your contact information has changed.
Additionally, we are still trying to contact five (5) workers who worked at the Timmins Camp between December 18, 2013 and March 31, 2015 and are entitled to wages and benefits for that period. Those workers are:
- Ghislaine Dube
- Danny Einish
- Jean-Charles Ouellet
- Pierre Paul Pelletier
- The Estate of Yves Tremblay
If you have any contact information with respect to those four (4) workers, please contact Emilie Rowe.
Again, we understand this has been a long legal process and many people have moved on from Sodexo and Tata Steel, however the union has continued since February 2014 to argue your entitlement to wages and benefits owed under the collective agreement and is now pleased to have secured the full amount of those wages and benefits owing to employees under the collective agreement for the entire period of December 2013 to November 30, 2015.
Financial Secretary-Treasurer/ Business Manager
CONTACT INFORMATION TO RECEIVE PAYMENT
Martin Whalen Hennebury Stamp
15 Church Hill
P.O. Box 5910
St. John’s, NL A1C 5X4