Strike looms at National Gallery



    OTTAWA, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Gallery of Canada is once
again facing a general strike because of its management's refusal to negotiate
a collective agreement with its employees, according to the union, the Public
Service Alliance of Canada.
    "We were hoping management would realize the benefits of open and
positive negotiations with the employees' union," said Ed Cashman, PSAC
Regional Executive Vice-president for the National Capital Region. "So far,
management has showed little, if any, interest in truly productive
negotiations."
    After several months of negotiations, management has agreed to settle
only on minor topics while the important issues of the collective agreement
remain unresolved. The PSAC had to ask the federal government to appoint a
conciliation officer because of the lack of progress in the bargaining
process.
    Unfortunately, the conciliation process was not successful. Conciliation
ended on Tuesday, March 20, but that same day the PSAC bargaining team
requested mediation to again try and reach a fair and equitable settlement
with the employer. The PSAC suggested three days of mediation to which the
employer has agreed.
    For Anna-Maria De Angelis, the President of the PSAC Local representing
the Gallery's employees, if the mediation process is not successfull, the
workers will have to increase the pressure on their employer.
    "We are hopeful of a positive outcome from the mediation process," De
Angelis said. "We are also planning to hold a strike vote on April 19, which
is a message to the Gallery to wake up to the fact that a strike is possible
but that it can be avoided by negotiating a fair agreement."
    In 2001, the employees of the Gallery were on strike from May 10 to July
13 before reaching a collective agreement with their employer.




For further information:

For further information: Angèle Cadieux, PSAC, 819-777-4647,
613-292-2195 (cell)


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