Mediation may avert strike at Blue Water Bridge



    POINT EDWARD/SARNIA, ON, Oct. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - A possible strike at the
Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward, Ontario could be averted if mediation talks
scheduled for October 29 and 30 between the Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC) and the Bridge Authority are successful.
    PSAC became the bargaining agent for the workers at this Crown
Corporation earlier this year and negotiations have been ongoing since May. A
federal mediator has been appointed by the Minister of Labour to bring
together the union and this federal Crown Corporation.
    "There are some very serious issues that will need to be resolved if a
strike is to be averted," says Gerry Halabecki, PSAC regional executive
vice-president for Ontario.
    According to Halabecki, the Bridge Authority wants to establish a
two-tier wage scale through a 25% salary reduction for workers hired after
September, 2007. The employer also wants to reduce their payment of benefit
premiums by 25% for all full-time workers hired after September.
    "The union is opposed to any attempt to reduce salaries and benefits for
new, younger workers," says Halabecki. "They deserve no less than their
pre-September 2007 co-workers."
    While these and other unresolved bargaining demands remain on the table,
PSAC is hopeful that a fair settlement will be reached. However, if mediation
does not result in a settlement, the union is preparing for a strike. In the
event of a strike, the union will ask all unionized truck drivers to honour
the picket line.
    PSAC represents the toll collectors, janitorial workers, maintenance and
currency workers at the Blue Water Bridge Authority. Their former agreement
expired in December, 2006.
    The Blue Water Bridge is an international facility that connects Point
Edward/Sarnia with Port Huron, Michigan with substantial commercial vehicle
traffic.

    The PSAC represents 160,000 members in a wide range of bargaining units
in the federal public sector, para-public sector and private sectors including
airports, universities, casinos, police service boards and non-profit
organizations.




For further information:

For further information: Todd Woytiuk, PSAC Regional Representative,
(519) 872-0722


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