Tag Archives: professionals

Bruce Power professionals deliver 97% strike mandate

By Pauline Kerr

The Bruce Power Local members of the Society of United Professionals have issued a 97 per cent strike mandate. With contract negotiations at an impasse, a Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator will assist in negotiations June 24-26 between management and the union representing 1,200 Bruce Power engineers, supervisors and other professional workers. A press release from John Peevers, director of corporate communications for Bruce Power, stated, “The company is committed to an open dialogue and continued engagement to reach a new collective agreement.” Should no progress be made, strike action of some sort could happen as soon as mid to late July, said Mike Gade, vice-president of the local. Gade said the 97 per cent vote indicates “overwhelming support for our agenda.” According to Gade, there are two main sticking points. One is the balance between regular, permanent jobs and contract jobs. “We disagree on where the balance point is,” he said, explaining there’s been a shift at Bruce Power to a greater percentage of contract jobs. While he acknowledges there will always be contract work, the union wants to protect “good, permanent jobs” for future generations of Bruce Power workers. The second sticking point is career development – providing opportunities for more challenging work as people progress in their careers. Gade said the hope is the conciliator will help break the impasse and avert a strike. If the sessions with the conciliator are unsuccessful, Gade said a “noboard report will be issued.” That’s followed by a 17-day “cooling off period,” after which the union would be in a legal position to strike. “A 97 per cent strike vote is an overwhelming mandate for our bargaining team and I hope the company takes this as a sign that it’s time to come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer,” said Gade, who is leading negotiations for the union. “With this strike vote, we want our friends and neighbours to know that we are willing to do what it takes to keep good jobs here today and for generations to come.” Gade said that a strike, at least initially, would not involve “a full withdrawal of services. Our interest … would be in pressuring the company for a fair contract.”