@Dave Austin ... Re: Legality
Without seeing the actual contracts, or understanding the specifics of Canadian Labor Laws, its a tough call.
Your point about how the papers were presented is meaningless and noise. A company hands you a legal document to sign, you had better read it. If you said you wanted to take the document and run it past a lawyer and they said no, then they would have issues. However that's not what is being alleged.
Where Blackberry may be on legal thin ice is that they didn't compensate their staff properly, and again it depends on the labor laws. Even questions about duress may be difficult to prove.
But there are a lot of unanswered questions...
What exactly is the transaction between Blackberry and Ford Canada? Did they outsource to FC? Did they sell the line of business?
What did the employees lose? Pensions?
Unused but accrued Vacation Days?
Seniority and benefits due to length of service?
Did Blackberry follow the required labor law announcements and notifications? (e.g. if they were terminating a number of employees did they notify the correct government officials of the resource action?)
And that's the thing.
If Blackberry made the official announcement of a resource action and said that they were shutting down a division and were selling off the support contract to FC, essentially you were losing your job and starting over at FC. (no accrued seniority or benefits since you're a new employee) Then they should have paid out accrued benefits. If you didn't sign the document, you didn't have a job at FC so you would have been terminated and gotten those accrued benefits.
So you have to know the agreement between BB and FC along with what was said in the document in order to know what will happen in court.