Strike looms at Hearst Power Distribution Company Ltd

    HEARST, ON, Aug. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Members of the Canadian Union of
Public Employees (CUPE) working at Hearst Power Distribution Company Ltd have
voted 100 per cent in favour of a strike following management's failure to
produce a fair contract offer.
    "Hearst power workers earn well below the provincial average for utility
workers in Ontario, and management has not even tabled a wage offer that would
put us in line with inflation," said Denis Régimbald, CUPE national
representative. CUPE has asked a provincial conciliation officer to inform the
Ontario ministry of Labour that bargaining has reached an impasse, starting
the countdown to a strike or lockout in early September. At present, no dates
for mediation talks have been scheduled.
    "Our members work hard to ensure Hearst residents have reliable power,
without disruptions, and strike action will be used as a last resort," said
Régimbald. "Unfortunately, Hearst Power management has pushed us into a strike
or lockout position as the storm season heats up and colder weather is just
around the corner." The workers' last contract expired March 31, 2007.
    CUPE's negotiating team has informed the conciliation officer they are
ready to return to the bargaining table, to try and reach an agreement. "Our
members would rather be working and protecting electrical services instead of
walking the picket line, but it really depends on Hearst Power management -
they have to offer a fair wage for the often dangerous work our members
    "Hearst electricity service workers are among the lowest paid in the
province," said Régimbald. "We are urging residents to contact local municipal
councillors to insist they get involved and offer a fair contract settlement
for Hearst electricity workers."

For further information:

For further information: Denis Régimbald, CUPE National Representative,
(705) 264-1269, (705) 266-5634 (cell); Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications,
(416) 292-3999

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