Manitoba Hydro workers vote in favour of strike - set to begin July 3

'We're going to have a problem': Unifor president Lana Payne

Manitoba Hydro workers vote in favour of strike - set to begin July 3

With contract negotiations hitting an impasse, unionized workers at Manitoba Hydro have voted in favour of strike.

This comes as Manitoba Hydro Utility Service’s management refuses to grant the public sector pattern wage increases, noted Unifor.

“If Manitoba Hydro intends to widen compensation gaps within its workforce, we’re going to have a problem,” said Lana Payne, Unifor national president. “Local 681 members will have the support of Unifor members from coast to coast as they pursue a fair contract.”

The strike is set to begin on July 3 after Local 681 members voted 92% in favour of strike action on June 8. The union represents about 120 workers who provide meter readings, inspections and location services for Manitoba Hydro customers.

Recently, a massive strike by Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers that would have nearly shut down the public transit system was put “on hold” after a last minute deal following months of negotiations.

Unifor wants wage gains similar to what public sector workers got

Unifor Local 681 is seeking similar gains to those already ratified by Manitoba Hydro for public sector workers. Over the last four years the unit has only received 1.75% wage increase, according to the union.

The union’s contract expired nearly two years ago.

“Our patience for this process is quickly running out. These front-line workers deserve a fair contract and we will mobilize to get what they deserve,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western regional director.

The employer has not made any comment on the development as of writing of this article.

Previously, Manitoba made a move to give more power to unionized workers by bringing back project labour agreements in the construction industry.

Bill 7, the public sector construction projects (tendering) repeal act, would bring back the option to require unionized workers as a condition of a tender or project labour agreement. However, it does not mean all tenders will require unionization.

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