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OTTAWA Canadas largest union has thrown its weight behind the struggle by Stelco workers to protect their pensions.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on its half-million members to back the efforts of Stelco workers to fight off threats to their pensions, wages and working conditions as the company restructures under bankruptcy protection. The Stelco workers affected by the restructuring are members of the United Steelworkers.

Gutting collective agreements and reducing living standards wont solve the crisis at Stelco, said CUPE national president Paul Moist. And weve got to stop this attack on workers pensions. Pension funds belong to workers who set aside their wages over the years to support their retirement. Theyre not a pool of capital to be plundered by venture capitalists looking to turn a quick buck by buying up a company thats ailing.

CUPE has been fighting a similar battle to protect the pensions of its members who work as flight attendants with Air Canada. In that case, Trinity Times Investment is trying to rewrite the terms of the pension plan, reducing benefits to workers.

The federal government has an obligation to protect pensions and workers rights when a company seeks bankruptcy protection, said Moist. Workers should have first claim on the companys assets, not be left out in the cold.

CUPE is calling on its members to support Stelco workers by joining in a demonstration planned in Hamilton for May 1 and plans to join with the Steelworkers in lobbying for legislative changes to protect workers pensions.

Full text of the CUPE National Executive Board Resolution

For information: Paul Moist, (613) 558 2873