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(Toronto) Some 1,500 Toronto Hydro workers will be holding a strike vote tomorrow (January 30), with job security emerging as a key issue in this round of bargaining.

CUPE Local One President Bruno Silano says the current contract expires January 31, and the vote should break the current logjam in bargaining.

Says Silano, Toronto Hydro has established a retail affiliate that will effectively undermine the existing utilities workforce. The two sides are before the Ontario Labour Relations Board to determine whether or not the retail company will be unionized.

Notwithstanding this issue, Toronto Hydro has let it be known that if the new retail company is unionized, it intends to have a significantly weaker contract there. Furthermore, Toronto Hydro would like to see its existing workers transferred to the retail affiliate and work under dramatically lower working conditions, says the Local One president.

CUPE will be fighting for improved language in the areas of job security, seniority, benefits, hours of work, job descriptions and wages.

Says Silano, “Toronto Hydro employees need a fair collective agreement and we will not allow this employer to use the retail affiliate to start a race to the bottom.”

CUPE Local One and Toronto Hydro have been in negotiations since November, 2000. Local One represents 1,500 women and men in clerical, technical and trades positions.

Toronto Hydro is the largest municipal utility in Canada and serves over 650,000 customers in the City of Toronto.

Contract talks are continuing.

(Assignment Editors: The Local One strike vote will be held on January 30, 2001 starting at 5:00 p.m., at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 1250 Eglington Avenue East, in the Commonwealth Ballroom.)

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

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