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OTTAWA The union representing 140 workers at OC Transpo has agreed to return to the bargaining table with the help of a conciliation officer next Tuesday, June 3rd. We had an overwhelming endorsement for strike action from our members, said Barry Spratt, president of Local 5500 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), after 86% of members rejected the employers latest offer earlier this week, authorizing the bargaining committee to call a strike, if necessary.

We will not bargain concessions, said Spratt. OC Transpo management wants to cut short-term disability and WSIB compensation (Workers Safety and Insurance Board). They want to harmonize us down, and we wont accept it. Thats why our members have voted to strike.

Members of Local 5500, including transit supervisors and law enforcement personnel, have been working without a contract since March 2002. We have offered to continue talks in the hope this employer will take our members more seriously now that weve got a strong strike mandate, says CUPE National Representative Bev Smale.

This employer needs to offer a fair contract so our members can continue to make sure Ottawa residents have access to safe and reliable transit, said Spratt. We care about the services we provide, and the last thing we want to do is inconvenience the public but weve got families of our own to take care of, and were prepared to do whats necessary to get a fair deal.


For further information, please contact:
Bev Smale, CUPE National Rep. - 613-237-0115 - 613-859-3137 (cell)
Barry Spratt, President, Local 5500 - 613-724-7888 (cell)
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999