Teachers Pension Plan Major Investor in US Company Attacking Windsor Salt Workers

Teachers Pension Plan Major Investor in US Company Attacking Windsor Salt Workers

Workers at Windsor Salt’s operations in Windsor, Ontario have been forced out on strike since February 17 by Stone Canyon Industries Holdings (SCIH) when they refused to accept the contracting out of the operation’s union jobs. SCIH is a Los Angeles-based holdings company. It bought Windsor Salt’s parent company in 2020 and is now trying to destroy the union through contracting out. To do so, they have hired the notorious anti-union law firm Jackson Lewis from the United States to “run the negotiations”, which is to say: make sure there are no negotiations and the company succeeds in imposing its dictate on the workers. This law firm is known for its aggressive tactics that stoop to the lowest levels of unethical behaviour.

The livelihoods and health and safety of the workers are at stake.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) is a major investor in SCIH. All teachers employed in publicly funded K-12 schools and many education workers contribute to this plan, which is one of the largest pension plans in the world. The pension fund has C$243 billion in assets and 1,300 employees. The OTPP claims to invest “strategically across key markets and sectors to deliver steady returns.” Its website listed SCIH as one of its investments over $200 million in 2021. One of its asset managers, Ashfaq Qadri, is on SCIH’s Board of Managers. The pension fund is jointly managed by the Ontario government and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF), which is overseen by representatives from the four teacher and education worker affiliate unions: l’Association des enseignates et enseignants Franco-Ontarien (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF).

In 2017, SCIH reported that the OTPP led a group of investors that bought Series B Preferred Stock in one of its subsidiaries, SCI Packaging. At that time, the CEO of BWAY, one of the packaging companies under SCI Packaging, Ken Roessler, stated, “We are pleased to partner with Ontario Teachers’, Canyon, PSP Investments and Arcadia, and look forward to working together.”

In 2018, SCIH announced that it had closed an equity offering of $1.8 billion. At that time the company indicated that the new capital investment would give the company “the ability to acquire and operate market leading businesses in essential industries, and to execute its long-term ‘buy, build and hold’ focus.” With the new funds, SCIH said in a press release that it “will seek to build out industrial verticals in stable and mature industries that possess favorable economic dynamics with high barriers to entry; a fragmented industry poised to create or strengthen a market leader through consolidation; and an opportunity to build a substantial company that will make a difference.” The press release ended with its Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Adam Cohn and Jim Fordyce saying “we appreciate the confidence in our long-term strategy shown by shareholders such as Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, Mubadala Investment Company, Eldridge Industries, and The Olayan Group, as well as many prominent family offices, all of whom share our values of long-term growth in mission-critical global industries.” (EYN emphasis – Ed)

In 2020, in a $2 billion transaction, SCIH acquired K+S Americas Salt, the owners of Morton Salt, then owner of Windsor Salt’s critical salt mining operations. After SCIH’s purchase of K+S, the new owners used their new consolidated salt operations to attack Windsor Salt miners in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, forcing them to accept concessions. Now they have hired a union busting law-firm, Jackson Lewis from the United States, to attack the livelihood of salt workers in Windsor, Ontario through refusing to negotiate and demanding contracting out of union jobs, something that would destroy the union itself.

Where workers’ pension funds are invested is a major concern for workers at this time. The OTPP investment in SCIH and it’s connection with the board of SCIH is a matter of concern for all teachers and should be sorted out in a manner that favours all teacher and education workers, their unions and all Canadians. It is the workers who should decide whose values and which “mission critical global industries” they want to support.


1. Support Striking Salt Miners in Windsor!

2. Union-busting in Canada by U.S. Law Firm Jackson Lewis

3. Former U.S. Vice-Consul Represents Windsor Mine Owners