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BURNABY, B.C. — The B.C. division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)—the largest union in the province, with 70,000 members—is about to put Telus permanently on hold.

CUPE BC has begun negotiations with other telecommunications providers to replace the division office’s landline, Internet and mobile phone services. The move—a direct response to the labour impasse between the Vancouver-based telecommunications giant and the Telecommunication Workers Union (TWU)—makes CUPE the first union in Canada to launch a full-scale boycott of Telus products.

We can no longer have ourselves in a position where we as a union are being serviced by someone who is so anti-union,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.

We can no longer tolerate the way that Telus treats its own workers, and this is the best way to send out that message. We have tried downgrading services, dropping unnecessary products and urging our members not to open new accounts, but it’s clear that the only way to get (Telus CEO) Darren Entwistle’s attention is to cut the line completely.”

The union reached the decision earlier this month at its executive board meeting. The plan calls for the division office to set up new phone and Internet accounts with the hope that area offices, locals and the vast majority of B.C.’s 70,000 CUPE members will follow suit.

Hopefully, other unions will follow our example and send the same message to Mr. Entwistle: if Telus wants to assault workers’ rights, then we can assault your bottom line.”