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Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus Inc. rejected a proposal by CUPE Local 4705 Aug. 9, making it more difficult to end the prolonged strike. Meanwhile, CUPE vows to continue to fight for retiree health benefits.

On Aug. 9 they flatly rejected a proposal we presented in face-to-face meetings last week with hydro management, said CUPE national representative Dennis Burke. Our proposal would have ended the strike and achieved the cost savings they were looking for right now, but they rejected it.

The union noted that the board of directors demand to take away benefits for future retired workers wouldnt generate any savings for at least 20 to 40 years.

CUPE members will defend their collective agreement for as long as it takes, Burke said. The members also vowed to step up the public information campaign, urging residents to put pressure on local politicians to end the strike.

We negotiated these benefits over years of give and take, said CUPE Local 4705 president Wyman MacKinnon. We decided long ago these benefits were important, and in the trade-off between wage increases and benefits, we emphasized benefits in negotiations over the past 15 years. Thats how come were in the 30th place in the province in terms of wages for hydro workers. I think this Board needs a history lesson.