SUDBURY The union representing 85 striking Greater Sudbury Hydro workers warns residents that a full-page ad taken out by hydro management in local papers today is full of falsehoods and designed to prolong the strike. The workers, members of Local 4705 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), have been on strike since June 19th.
This is another example of the underhanded and dishonest way the hydro board is dealing with the strike, says CUPE National Representative Dennis Burke. Weve already had to file a complaint of bad faith bargaining with the Ontario Labour Board because of the hydro boards misrepresentations and attempts to go around the union and communicate directly with our members, says Burke. Now theyre trying to mislead the public too.
Burke points out that contrary to the employers advertisement, retiree benefits are not the only issue that remains outstanding in the strike. We havent been able to move on other issues because of the stumbling block of health care benefits for retired workers, and unresolved issues around contracting out, technological change and sick leave are just as important to our members.
Our members have not voted on any offers because to date there has been no offer to vote on, says Burke, commenting on another falsehood in the utilitys ad. Until there is a memorandum of settlement, theres nothing to vote on.
The employers proposed solution of a letter of understanding guaranteeing current benefits for life is not worth the paper its written on, says Burke, citing legal opinions the letter would have no binding effect on future boards of the utility. Having new workers come on staff with an inferior benefit and compensation package would lead to a divided workplace and jeopardize those benefits in future rounds of negotiations. Collective agreements are only in effect for the duration of the negotiated period. Any letter of understanding and contract provisions are subject to change in each round of negotiations.
Its unconscionable for the Mayor and councillors who sit on the hydro board to use ratepayers money to mislead residents and prolong the strike, says Burke. This strike will only end when they back away from their concession demands and stop their snowjob on our members and the public.
For further information, please contact:
Dennis Burke, CUPE National Rep. - 705-674-7557 - 705-669-8526 (cell)
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999