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Following a series of print and radio ads urging the public to contact their town councils and ask for a strong and accountable Board of Directors for Westario, the power company seems to have resorted to intimidating employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 255.

In response to serious concerns about Westario, concerns that were not answered by senior management at the power company, members of CUPE 255 felt they had no alternative than to ask the councils in the areas Westario serves to ensure an accountable board would be appointed.

We are very frustrated and concerned about how things are being carried out in our workplace, and when our concerns fell on deaf ears, we felt we had to go public in order to get the problems addressed. We have moved from 17 linemen in 2004 to just eight today, staff morale is at an all time low, there is a huge staff turnover—this includes management, we have health and safety and workload issues as well,” said Scott Catto, president of CUPE 255.

Now, there appears to be a backlash from management against our members. One female employee was interviewed by no less than three management representatives regarding sick leave; this is virtually unheard of—these meetings are generally one-on-one; this is the first time that three management representatives have been used in the process.

Employees were accused of stealing a compressor; a compressor that was found to be at a substation in Wingham and, even after its return to the shop, one employee was asked if it had been at his home. Lastly, our members were accused of tampering with the tire of an on-call vehicle; however, an outside repairman stated clearly that, if the tire had been tampered with, it would have been flat and this kind of damage to the tire is very common.

These recent developments make it all the more urgent that the councils of Brockton, Hanover, Kincardine, North Huron, South Bruce, Huron-Kinloss, Minto, and Saugeen Shores who represent  their taxpayers and who are the shareholders of Westario, take action as soon as possible before things get even worse,” Catto said.

On a final note, I’d like to add that I don’t believe the current Board of Directors knows that employees are being treated this way, nor do I believe that they would condone such behavior,” Cato concluded.

For more information, please contact:

James Keenan
CUPE National Representative

Wendy Forbes
CUPE Communications