Former Chatham Navistar plant. (Photo by Trevor Thompson)

Navistar Workers Awarded Severance Pay

The wait is over for workers at a closed truck assembly plant in Chatham.

A nearly eight-year long fight for severance pay owed to former production and office employees at Navistar has been won.

Unifor announced Tuesday an arbitrator has ruled in favour of the union, to award all entitled workers their outstanding payments under the Employment Standards Act.

“A lot of [our members] have been devastated. They lost their jobs… income was reduced for them, families were torn apart,” says President of Unifor Local 127 Rick MacLean. “It was just a very devastating time for all of our members.”

The union filed a grievance after hundreds of workers were denied their severance when the Richmond-St. facility stopped production in 2009 and then closed in 2011.

Under the Employment Standards Act, Navistar must now pay severance to workers with more than five years of employment, and provide one week of severance pay based upon regular wages for each year of service, to a max of 26 weeks.

The ruling also states, in the case of members who have died, the estate will be entitled to the arbitration award.

MacLean says cheques will go in the mail in 60 business days.

“I am just overwhelmed and so pleased for the members that they will be getting what they were entitled to that, in my opinion, Navistar should have paid to the members seven-and-a-half years ago,” he says.