Actually, I was at the union hall to meet with our local Treasurer and Financial Secretary to pay bills and to put our hall insurance in order. (Special thanks to Greg Conners) But as 4pm rolled around, workers from Evergreen started to show up for a meeting. They were one week off. Our regular scheduled meetings are the first and third Wednesday at 4pm. But it gave those who came a chance to catch up on some information. Here is some of what I know:
Evergreen Pulp, in whatever form they have become, are paying some vendors. To what extent is beyond me. (Why would they be writing checks if they had no intention of doing further business?) Around 20 people remain on payroll. (8 Union Hourly) Our wood chip ramps are being removed as hog fuel to the highest bidder. Once the chips are gone, then construction of concrete ramps will begin. This is a positive capital expenditure that leads one to believe Evergreen has every intention of re-starting.
Insurance Questions revisited: Our insurance coverage will be in place until Nov. 30th. You will need to pay for COBRA if do want your insurance to lap. I am working on finding a provider to will cover the gap at a lower price. I will call all members when I have a time set up for a meeting for the Insurance to be available to answer Questions. I will do my best to contact the Salary employees as well. Hopefully by the 2nd week in November.
Retirement Benefits: For those of you who are eligible for the Defined Benefit Retirement Program, if you elect to start collecting and you are younger than 62 years of age, you will be penalized 3% per year of service for every year you are under 62. To be eligible to even start receiving benefits you must be 55 and have 30 years in or a combination of the two that equals 85. And if you decide to retire, you must terminate your service with Evergreen. So if we do start up and you want to come back, you will start at the bottom seniority wise.
Retirement Insurance: If you decide to retire at 62, you are eligible for Insurance coverage until you are 65 and are then under Medicare. UNLESS, Evergreen closes the Mill Permanently. Then retirees are in the same boat as the rest of the workforce, you will be out of insurance.
Disability Insurance: We have quite a few workers who are on Workers Compensation and State Compensation. Some are assuming their insurance coverage will continue while the mill is down. You are only covered for your pre existing condition! If you walk out your house and are injured on Dec. 1, 2008, you are not covered! Be sure to have health insurance coverage by Nov. 30th at the latest.
Next Wednesday, November 5th at 4pm will be our next regularly scheduled meeting. We will also be electing new officers for 2009.
I will post more information as it becomes available.
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