Wynne Liberals’ refusal to act on pensions issue hurts Windsor Sears staff: MPP Gretzky

WINDSOR—Today, Windsor West NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky released the following statement in response to the Sears Canada proposal to close all Canadian stores:

“Today I stand in solidarity with all of the Sears Canada workers in Windsor, and throughout Canada, facing layoffs if Sears Canada liquidates its remaining 130 stores. This is a devastating blow to the over 12,000 Sears employees across Canada who will find themselves struggling to get by without severance and left fighting to hold on to the pensions that they deserve. As the MPP for Windsor West, I’m frustrated that the government failed to take action during the last year to protect the pensions of workers in this situation – something they had opportunity to do time and time again, but let us down.

When Sears announced its first round of closures more than 3,000 staff were laid off without severance – for many, despite years and even decades of service earning that severance. To make matters worse, they then found out they won’t receive their full pensions. All while senior management and top executives enjoyed a multi-million-dollar payout and massive bonuses.

More than a year ago, New Democrats passed a motion to change the rules and put pensioners ahead of large corporations, banks and creditors when a company files for bankruptcy, but the Wynne Liberals have since turned its back on that commitment. Wynne and her government failed to act on it, and let us all down.

Enough is enough. The money earned by an employee belongs to an employee. Pensions must be protected and any revenue from liquidation sales should be used to fund employee pensions first.

Windsor is, and has always been, a city that prides itself on strong protections for our workers. The pension cuts that Sears employees face stand in stark contrast to everything we stand for as a community: that workers deserve to be treated fairly and compensated fully for their work. I will continue to stand with these workers and fight for pension protections in Ontario, and I know that the Windsor community will stand with them too.”