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Regina: One day after the labour relations board found the Wadena School Division guilty of three unfair labour practices, a Saskatchewan court chastised the school board for its handling of a pension dispute.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal took less than 15 minutes yesterday to dismiss the Wadena school divisions request for a judicial review of a decision involving a school caretakers pension benefits.
In tossing the divisions request yesterday, the appeal court slammed the division board for its relentless pursuit of litigation, instead of a settlement.

The Wadena School Division has spent seven years trying to deny William Molnar (now retired) from claiming 28 additional months of service towards his pension benefits.

The division board must be held accountable for all the time and money it has wasted trying to deny Willies claim to these pension benefits, says Donna Zarowny, the president of the CUPE local that represented him.

But it is typical of the way the division board rewards loyalty, she stated from the picket line, where division school support workers have spent the last 57 days fighting to achieve a fair agreement.
Molnar was contracted by the school division in 1983 to work as a caretaker. He and other school caretakers became employees of the division in August 1987, when CUPE organized the school support workers. As an employee, Mr. Molnar was eligible to join the pension plan after serving the required one-year waiting period.

But the division board did not enroll Molnar in the plan until January 1990, in compliance with a Revenue Canada ruling that caretakers were employees and entitled to pension benefits.

Facing poor health, Molnar asked the union to pursue the matter in 1997.

CUPE eventually received a positive decision from the Municipal Employees Pension Commission. The school division, however, challenged the commissions jurisdiction. It lost.

The school division lost again three years later, when a provincial court judge dismissed its request for a judicial review of the MEPP decision.

It lost again yesterday, with the court awarding all costs to Molnar.
Molnar, who retired in February 2002, says he is really happy his case is finally settled. I feel that justice has been done. And Im very grateful to [union staff rep] Sharon Lockwood and my union for all of their work on my behalf.

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For more information call: Donna Zarowny at 338-3121.