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The Ontario Labour Relations Board has rejected Toronto Hydro’s attempt to get a quick ruling on first contract arbitration, foiling their efforts to stop a strike by CUPE Local One members.

Saying their strike is about nothing less than defending 86 years of collective bargaining history, the 1,500 members of Local One commenced strike action against the utility at one minute after midnight Wednesday, February 24.

The newly amalgamated power utility has been pressing for major concessions from its employees. The local, meanwhile, backed by a huge strike mandate at 96 per cent, has been demanding improvements to job security, increased protection against contracting out and improved benefits and maternity leave.

Local One president Bruno Silano says, “Toronto Hydro has actually forced the job action by applying for first contract arbitration, even though there have been collective agreements in place here for more than 80 years.”