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WEST NIPISSING The union representing 67 workers who run municipal services in West Nipissing, including hydro, water, garbage and all inside and outside municipal services, warns their employers are setting the stage for a strike after management tabled a list of 23 concessions in contract talks.

Our members voted 98% in favour of strike action if a fair deal cannot be reached, says Monique Drapeau, National Representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE Local 535 represents inside and outside workers at the municipality of West Nipissing, as well as employees of West Nipissing Public Energy Services and Utilities Ltd. (hydro, water and wastewater), and West Nipissing Environmental Services (garbage and landfill).

We have three employers here with one agenda, says Drapeau. They want to gut our contract with a list of 23 concessions, including attacks on job security, hours of work, sick leave, vacation leave, health and safety, WSIB, bereavement leave and even free collective bargaining this is how they have begun negotiations. CUPE is negotiating on behalf of all three groups together because the municipality uses the same human resources team for contract talks with each of the three employers.

After seeing the list of employer concession demands, CUPE decided to halt negotiations and proceed with a strike vote. The union has also requested the help of a provincial conciliator.

Weve also discovered that West Nipissing management hired a human resources consultant who tabled a very similar list of concessions in Sudbury on behalf of the Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus utility, says Drapeau. Its disgusting that employers in the North have decided to let outsiders with an anti-worker agenda take over their negotiations. Its not in the best interest of residents and it will lead to major disruptions in Northern communities voters wont stand for it.

CUPE will begin preparations for a strike that could affect all municipal services in the area. The union is also urging residents to contact local politicians to tell them to negotiate a fair contract and avoid a strike.

The last thing we want is a strike, says Drapeau. But its clear were headed for a strike unless those contract rollbacks come off the table.


For further information, please contact:
Monique Drapeau, CUPE National Representative

Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications