Elevator fright prompts call for government action to ensure safety

OTTAWA, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - A group of 11 conference delegates staying at the Delta downtown Ottawa went through a frightful experience late yesterday. They got stuck in an elevator for 35 minutes, long enough to require medical attention once they were got out. The delegates are attending a women's conference held by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union of Canada (CEP).

"The province's elevator workers are on strike against an employer that has shown that it has no interest in protecting the safety of the population of Ontario" said Dave Coles, CEP National President. "We're relieved that our delegates are alright, but with many elevators not maintained since May 1st, the NEEA is making the situation outright dangerous."

The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) represents 1700 elevator constructor mechanics and helpers in the province of Ontario of which 1300 are presently on strike against the National Elevator Escalator Association (NEEA). The NEEA just enacted a never-used clause in the Labour Act to force certain workers back to work in the residential construction industry in the GTA.

"NEEA has effectively prioritized the installation of elevators in condominiums in the GTA over repairing elevators in Ottawa hospitals, assisted living dwellings, and other public buildings," said Dan Vinette from IUEC. "It's time for the government to make a move and offer resources to get NEEA to return to the bargaining table and have both sides conclude an agreement for the benefit and safety of all Ontarians".

CEP is the largest union in several key sectors of Canada's economy, including forestry, energy, telecommunications and media. The CEP Women's conference is taking place until Saturday June 22. Conference delegates participated in a solidarity march with IUEC strikers yesterday in downtown Ottawa.


For further information:

Dave Coles, CEP, 613-299-5628
Dan Vinette, IUEC, 613 228-3415

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