More than 50 workers are on strike at Timberland Equipment Ltd. in Woodstock, Ont., after the company and the union failed to reach an agreement regarding pension plans.

According to a press release from the United Steelworkers, most workers are long-time employees who have a defined benefit pension plan, while a smaller group of more recent hires have a defined contribution pension plan. The release noted Timberland is seeking to eliminate the DB plan and is refusing to improve the DC plan.

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“Our members made sacrifices in the past and they’ve been making a lot of money for this company, but that doesn’t seem to matter,” said Adam Caron, president of the USW Local 446M, in the release. “This company is very profitable and our DB pension plan is very healthy. So there’s no reason for the company to take the pension plan away.”

During negotiations, the USW proposed moving all workers to its Steelworkers Pension Plan. “This was a very reasonable proposal that we made to the company,” said Caron. “Even the Ministry of Labour mediator thought it was a reasonable proposal.”

Timberland didn’t respond to Benefits Canada’s request for comment.

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