On Monday Nov. 9, 2020 an IMT representative reached out to my office to arrange an introduction to their legal council representing Welland Forge and the trustee assigned from BDO Canada to discuss next steps in the Bankruptcy / Insolvency of the business.
At 10:00 am Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020 myself and legal council from Unifor participated on the call. The Company was represented by two lawyers and an IMT representative. BDO was represented by the trustee assigned and one other representative.
BDO informed the Union that Welland Forge decided to stay in control of the wind down process and are currently working with their biggest creditor , the Bank to attempt to reduce the debt owed to numerous secured creditors (businesses) and of course termination pay and severance owed to our members (unsecured creditors). Please note, they are attempting this restructuring process prior to bankruptcy taking place.
Currently assets are being appraised for sale in particular the 4 thousand ton press, an upsetter and mig welder. While the value in comparison to Welland Forge total debt is minimal the sale of this equipment does benefit creditors going forward.
The Company is currently creating a proposal for the courts to review which is expected to take place by late Nov. 2020. BDO and the Company council did commit to providing the Union their proposal to the Union prior to court filing. We have also requested a complete list of Unifor members carved out of the 12 pages of creditors listed.
Prospects for securing termination pay and severance are bleak because of our unsecured creditor status.
Another option for wage recovery is WEPP (Wage Earner Protection program). This is a Federal Government program to help employees who worked for bankrupt companies that do not have the assets to pay outstanding wages. Each employee can submit a claim after the bankruptcy has formally taken place of $6700.00 net monies.
As the process unfolds my office and Unifor legal department will provide updates.
Unifor National Representative