AbitibiBowater severance cheques expected in a month
The union representing laid-off AbitibiBowater mill workers in Grand Falls-Windsor says severance payments should start to arrive in about a month.
Severance for hundreds of workers and some pensioners have been tied-up in court since paper company AbitibiBowater filed for bankruptcy protection in April.
The provincial government announced in May that it would pay $35 million in unpaid severance to workers who were left high and dry.
AbitibiBowater workers like Junior Downey are attending information sessions on how to fill out claims. He has been waiting two months for severance pay from the province.
Now the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union is telling him he could have his money in two or three weeks.
Downey said many workers, some of whom qualify for more than $100,000, have found the waiting difficult:
"And there are people out there who have got their … credit cards stretched to the max waiting for their severance pay, so it's tough on a lot of people, a lot of families," he said.
The money is supposed to go to unionized and non-unionized Abitibi workers whose severance and pensions are tied up in court proceedings. There's also money for loggers who didn't qualify for severance.
National CEP president Dave Coles said people will have to be patient.
"So I imagine it's going to be weeks and months, not days or hours before people actually receive their cheques. We have to do this right," he said.
Many of the workers got their last cheques from Abitibi at the end of March.