Bargaining Stalls Between Freedom Mobile and United Steelworkers

WINDSOR, ON, Aug. 3, 2017 /CNW/ - Negotiations for a first collective agreement between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Freedom Mobile for its call centre employees in Windsor have stalled.

Despite an intense last 19 hours of talks and the efforts of a federal labour conciliation officer, there is not yet a settlement.

Freedom Mobile, previously known as Wind Mobile, was purchased in 2015 by Shaw Communications for $1.6 billion. The 185 customer care employees at Freedom Mobile's Windsor call centre joined the USW in January and bargaining began in late March.

"Very soon, we'll be holding membership meetings to arrange next steps," said Bryan Adamczyk, USW representative. "Freedom's offer is just not right, especially for a business that is making such a great contribution to Shaw's profits and bottom line. A possible strike or lockout deadline exists as of 12:01 a.m., Aug. 16, but we think a settlement can be negotiated before that."

"Shaw's wireless revenue for the latest quarter was up by a whopping 16.7% and Shaw says it wants to rapidly expand its share of the cell phone market. To do that, it needs to do better for these hard-working people in Windsor," said Lee Riggs, President of the Telecommunications Workers Union, USW National Local 1944, which represents more than 11,000 telecommunications sector workers across Canada.

"We are behind these members 100%," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director. "I don't think that Shaw and Freedom want this to become a dispute that reflects poorly on the company, especially as it is trying to grow this lucrative business."

"The employees in this call centre work hard in jobs that can be pretty stressful. It cannot be that Freedom and Shaw don't want to recognize those contributions," said a joint statement from Jasen Gannon, Tanya Travis Dunn and Christian Poisson, Freedom call centre employees and members of the union's elected bargaining committee.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Lee Riggs, President, TWU, USW National Local 1944, 604-230-0553; Bryan Adamczyk, USW Staff Representative, 647-234-0466, badamczyk@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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