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With management at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Utility Commission struggling with major repairs and increasingly angry customers, CUPE 1000 is calling for binding arbitration to resolve the outstanding issues in the strike.

The 100 workers at the Sault Ste. Marie PUC, members of Local 1000, the Power Workers Union, went on strike June 17. The utility has been pressing for concessions that would create inequalities in pay, increase pressure on parents and threaten regular jobs. The employer wanted to cancel an overtime equalization plan that ensures all workers get their fair share. A flextime provision allowing parents to adjust their hours to accommodate home life issues such as childcare was also on the employers chopping block.

Striking workers voted to reject managements final offer almost unanimously, noting that neither provision costs management a cent. The union members are also frustrated by the employers plan to claw back job security protections that were recently upheld through grievance/arbitration.

Strikers feel confident an arbitrator will reject management demands. We want to get back to work but we wont take concessions, said Terry Zeppa, PWU steward and spokesperson for the striking workers.