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SUDBURY – Powerline electricians, accountants, clerks, garage mechanics, engineers, customer care representatives and other support workers at Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus Inc. are set to walk off the job on October 6th if last minute mediation talks fail to reach a settlement between the utility and Local 4705 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 80 men and women who serve communities in and around Greater Sudbury.

We’re fighting for basic rights like job security, a cost of living allowance and fair wages,” says Wyman MacKinnon, president of CUPE Local 4705. “We will do everything we can to avoid a strike, but we’re prepared to walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. on October 6th if that’s what it takes to get a fair deal. If that happens, we apologize to the public for the inconvenience.”

Negotiations for a first collective agreement following the merger of local hydro utilities in November 2000 have hit a wall,” says Dennis Burke, CUPE National Representative. “In these uncertain times when stock markets are falling and inflation could spin out of control due to events beyond our control, a cost of living provision is essential.”

Other outstanding issues include wages and job security. “Management has been encroaching on work of the bargaining unit,” adds MacKinnon. “That’s not good for our members and it’s not good for the public, as Hydro becomes top-heavy with management.”

Mediation talks have been scheduled for October 4th and 5th, in the hopes of reaching a deal. “Unless the employer comes back to the table with a more flexible attitude, we may have no choice but to strike,” adds Burke. “We’re calling on residents to contact Mayor Jim Gordon’s office to tell him to get involved and prevent a strike. As major shareholder, the City of Sudbury can turn this situation around before it’s too late.”


For further information, please contact:
Dennis Burke, CUPE National Rep. Sudbury Area Office
Wyman MacKinnon, President Local 4705
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications