United Steelworkers at Prysmian in St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu - Striking for Respect

    BROSSARD, QC, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Last night at 8:30 pm, the 200
United Steelworkers members working for Prysmian in St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu
called a strike to protest the standstill state of their negotiations and to
demand respect. "After twenty negotiation sessions, we still haven't reached
anything close to a settlement regarding non monetary issues. These issues are
notably recognizing seniority and work schedules. As of yet, not a single
monetary issue has been introduced. Despite current economic conditions, our
members have decided to go on strike to gain respect," declared Dominic
Lemieux, union representative for United Steelworkers (FTQ).
    "We find the company's attitude hard to understand, it refuses to deal
with the real issues. Our people are completely baffled. Yet, all they want is
to see the company go forward and take part in its survival and expansion
during these difficult times. Good working relations have always been a key
for success for any company. That doesn't seem hard to understand," stated
Sylvain Millot, president of local section 8428.
    Mr. Millot cited management's desire to introduce 12-hour rotating
schedules that would force workers to work every other weekend as an example.
"Throughout the years, our members have been able to achieve decent working
conditions. We believe that negotiate in good faith and dealing with issues
such as investment is more important than looking for ways to cut into
people's working conditions."
    The union representative is also concerned with the possible loss of
Quebec expertise in the production of electric cables. "While we were
negotiating, he says, we were given information that Prysmian was having a
Hydro-Quebec electric cable production contract filled by its Ontario plant!
It's nonsense. Even more so since Nexans shut down its cable manufacturing
operations in the Quebec area. We are asking the government and Hydro-Québec
to show more vigilance. We shouldn't weaken Quebec's industrial structure any
    Dominic Lemieux concluded by inviting the company to sit at the
negotiation table and be truly determined to reach a negotiated settlement.
"The company is profitable. It is going to need us to continue on this path
during this tough economic period. And it certainly isn't by chomping away at
our working condition that they are going to be successful."

    Prysmian Cable and Systems Canada, formerly Pirelly Cables, is located in
St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu. The company specializes in the production of
electric cables. The collective agreement ended January 30, 2009. The company
operates four plants in North America and has its head office in Milan.

For further information:

For further information: Dominic Lemieux, United Steelworkers (FTQ),
(450) 656-1113

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