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(Toronto) Toronto Hydro workers have given their union an overwhelming strike mandate. The members of CUPE Local One voted 97% in favour of job action to back contract demands.

The strike vote comes on the very same day that the Ontario Ministry of Labour started the clock ticking toward a legal strike or lockout at Canadas largest municipal hydro.

A No Board report has been issued by the ministry, establishing a strike deadline of February 12th (12:01 a.m.). Both sides will now head to mediated talks in an effort to avoid a disruption in service.

Local One President Bruno Silano says, Job security is emerging as one of the key issues in this round of bargaining. Toronto Hydro has established a retail affiliate that will effectively undermine the existing utilitys workforce. The two sides are currently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board to determine whether or not the retail company will be unionized.

CUPE Local Ones current contract expires January 31 and cover 1,500 Toronto Hydro employees in virtually all job categories. One of the oldest local unions in Canada, it will also be fighting for improved language in the areas of seniority, benefits, hours of work, job descriptions and wages.

Toronto Hydro serves over 650,000 customers in the City of Toronto.

For information:
Bruno Silano, President, CUPE Local One
(416) 712-5266 (Cell)

John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(416) 292-3999 (o)