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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The support workers for the Workplace, Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC), members of CUPE Local 1866 were forced on strike today.

The members of CUPE Local 1866 had no choice but to walk off the job”, explained Lynn Spear, President of CUPE Local 1866.

We had requested to meet with the Corporate Board of the WHSCC but they refused.”

The WHSCC – appointed by the Lord Government – maintains its position and wants our members – which are mostly women – to make concessions on their health and dental benefits”, said Spear.

With a 91% strike vote, our members gave us a very clear message they don’t want the Commission to strip away their benefits.”

Both parties presented their position to an independent third party (Don MacLean) who handed down a recommended settlement. Mr MacLean did not recommend any changes in the 29-year health and dental benefit. Our members accepted the recommendations but the proposed settlement was rejected by WHSCC forcing a strike on the injured workers and employers of this province.”

First, the Lord Government appointed Commission reduced the benefits for the injured workers and now they are trying to reduce our benefits.

On one hand, this Commission with more than a $200 million dollar budget is sponsoring the National Convention of the Association of Workplace, Compensation Commissions of Canada at the luxurious Algonquin Hotel but is asking its employees to reduce their health and dental benefits.”

We apologize to the injured workers and employers of this province for the unreasonable action of the WHSCC, but they do not leave us with any other choice”, concluded Spear.

CUPE Local 1866 represents 109 workers in Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Grand Falls and Bathurst. Their collective agreement expired on December 31, 2004.

For more information:
Lynn Spear, CUPE Local 1866 President, (506) 333-6830 cell

Robert Davidson, CUPE (506) 645-1185