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TORONTO The union representing a group of workers at Enwave District Energy Ltd. in Toronto, says the high profile utility is jeopardizing heating and climate control for several downtown Toronto buildings by failing to treat workers fairly in contract talks.

We have done everything we can to reach a settlement, says Brian Cochrane, president of the Toronto Civic Employees Union, Local 416-CUPE. There are several outstanding issues that affect our members, and we must see some movement from management if a disruption is to be avoided.

The union will be in a legal strike or lockout position on September 13th. Enwave workers are the backbone of a utility that supplies heating and climate control to many downtown Toronto buildings, including St Michaels hospital and major bank towers like the TD Centre, Scotia Plaza, Royal Bank Tower and others. The utility is run by a Board of Directors, and the major shareholders are the City of Toronto and OMERS, the Ontario municipal workers pension plan.

A strike or lockout could disrupt climate control and send a chill through the heart of Torontos financial district as the heating season approaches, says Cochrane. We dont want to shutdown Canadas economic engine, but our members have families to take care of too, and they deserve to be treated fairly.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement in conciliation talks earlier in August. No further talks have been scheduled and the parties remain far apart on several issues.

While Enwave was paying to fly in Alec Baldwin to trumpet the companys deep water cooling project in a recent public relations exercise, I guess they forgot to mention the breakdown in negotiations, says Cochrane.

Outstanding issues include wages (which would include the burden of the new provincial health tax causes), employment security, dental benefits, overtime compensation, the new provincial health tax, work of the bargaining unit and unfair treatment of Local 416 members in any future expansion plans.

It is Local 416s goal to reach a settlement that respects our members, without a work stoppage, says Cochrane. The balls now in their court.

For further information, please contact:

Brian Cochrane
Local 416 President

Rick Alexander
CUPE National Representative

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE Communications