Disruption looms for hockey playoffs and entertainment at Scotiabank Place - workers fight for fair working conditions

    OTTAWA, April 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Scotiabank Place workers, members of
Local 4809 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted 86 per cent
in favour of a strike, after trying for nearly a year to negotiate a first
collective agreement since first becoming organized in June of 2006.
Frustrated with their employer's refusal to make a fair contract offer, the
61 conversion staff will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 am, on May
7th, 2007.
    "We're talking about workers earning only 10 dollars an hour, with no
benefits, no job security and no control over their schedule," said CUPE
National Representative Andy Mele, representing workers who prepare the arena
for different events, setting up and taking down hockey installations,
preparing for concerts and other events, and offering maintenance services,
including operating the Zamboni for ice surfacing. "Management has been
spending much more on legal fees than it would cost them to reach a fair
contract settlement - it looks like they're trying to bust the union."
    Capital Sports Properties Inc., the company that operates Scotiabank
Place, is using a law firm to conduct labour negotiations, and many bargaining
dates have been cancelled. A strike could affect second and third round hockey
playoffs and other scheduled entertainment at Scotiabank Place.
    "All in all, this is a difficult employer," said Mele. "These workers are
working full-time hours, with some of them employed all year, yet Scotiabank
Place is treating them like a cheap labour pool - it's behaviour that's not
becoming for a leading sports and entertainment venue, and it has to stop."
    CUPE hopes to reach a contract settlement in mediation talks, "but for
that to happen we need a change of attitude on the part of the employer," said
Mele. "Our members don't want a strike to disrupt our hockey and other
entertainment - we're fans too. What we need is a fair contract."

For further information:

For further information: Andy Mele, CUPE National Representative, (613)
237-0115, (613) 878-4444 (cell); Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications, (416)

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