OTTAWA, Ont. – Scotiabank Place workers, members of Local 4809 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted 86 per cent in favour of a strike, after trying for nearly a year to negotiate a first collective agreement since first becoming organized in June of 2006. Frustrated with their employer’s refusal to make a fair contract offer, the 61 conversion staff will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 am, on May 7th, 2007.
“We’re talking about workers earning only 10 dollars an hour, with no benefits, no job security and no control over their schedule,” said CUPE National Representative Andy Mele, representing workers who prepare the arena for different events, setting up and taking down hockey installations, preparing for concerts and other events, and offering maintenance services, including operating the Zamboni for ice surfacing. “Management has been spending much more on legal fees than it would cost them to reach a fair contract settlement – it looks like they’re trying to bust the union.”
Capital Sports Properties Inc., the company that operates Scotiabank Place, is using a law firm to conduct labour negotiations, and many bargaining dates have been cancelled. A strike could affect second and third round hockey playoffs and other scheduled entertainment at Scotiabank Place.
“All in all, this is a difficult employer,” said Mele. “These workers are working full-time hours, with some of them employed all year, yet Scotiabank Place is treating them like a cheap labour pool – it’s behaviour that’s not becoming for a leading sports and entertainment venue, and it has to stop.”
CUPE hopes to reach a contract settlement in mediation talks, “but for that to happen we need a change of attitude on the part of the employer,” said Mele. “Our members don’t want a strike to disrupt our hockey and other entertainment – we’re fans too. What we need is a fair contract.”
For further information, please contact:
Andy Mele Robert Lamoureux
CUPE National Representative CUPE Communications