SUDBURY The union representing 82 inside and outside workers at Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus Inc. will try once more to reach a negotiated settlement in mediation talks June 16, 17 and 18, to try and hammer out a collective agreement and avoid a strike that would put the citys power supply in jeopardy. The workers, who voted 93% in favour of strike action if a deal cannot be reached, are set to begin strike action Saturday, June 19th, at 12:01 a.m., if mediation talks fail.
We will do what we can, but management still has 15 concession demands on the table, says Wyman MacKinnon, president of Local 4705 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing the workers who keep Sudbury lights on, including hydro lines maintenance, new hook-ups, billing and repairs. Theyre still trying to cut our benefits, attack job security, eliminate retiree benefits and charge new fees for the benefits wed have left theyre heading for a strike.
Greater Sudbury residents should be up in arms with local councillors whove let things get this far, says CUPE National Representative Dennis Burke. The Council appoints the Board of Directors at Hydro and many councillors sit on the Board theyve got to find a solution without gouging our members. The people of Sudbury deserve better. Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus is owned by the city and run by a board of directors appointed by local councillors.
Weve been encouraging residents to contact local councillors, including the mayor, to tell them they must treat these workers fairly in order to avoid a strike, says MacKinnon. The last thing we want is a strike, but CUPE will not negotiate concessions and our members deserve respect. Mediation talks later this week will give local politicians and hydro management one last opportunity to show us that respect I hope theyve been listening.
If a settlement cannot be reached by the strike deadline, picket lines are set to go up at 500 Regent Street, Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus Inc. headquarters, at 12:01 a.m. on June 19th (Saturday).
For further information, please contact:
President, CUPE 4705
CUPE National Rep.