Bruce Power collective bargaining negotiations with the Society of United Professionals are expected to continue this week with the support of a Ministry of Labour conciliator, according to a press release from Bruce Power.
The press release further stated Bruce “is committed to an open dialogue and continued engagement to reach a new collective agreement.”
However, the Society of United Professionals stated in a press release that both sides remain far apart on a new contract, and expressed concern that its 1,200 members will soon be in a legal strike or lockout position.
“We have been working tirelessly to find a way to reach a fair contract
for everyone but there has been little progress on the big issues,” said
Society of United Professionals Bruce Power Local vice-president Mike
Gade, who is leading negotiations for the union. “We need the company to
get serious about negotiating a deal because there is a lot at stake for
every Ontarian if we can’t.”
Gade said that while some progress has been made, there needs to be significant progress on key issues.
Key issues at the bargaining table include ensuring good jobs for the
next generation of Bruce Power employees, career development
opportunities for current employees, and improving health and safety at
The main sticking point, according to Gade, is the “balance point” between contract employees and permanent employees. He said in a previous interview the union doesn’t want to eliminate use of contractors, but would like to preserve “good, permanent jobs” at Bruce Power.
The 1,200 Bruce Power professionals represented by the Society of United
Professionals include engineers, supervisors and other professional
workers. The parties have been in contract renewal negotiations since
November 2018. A Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator has been
assisting talks since June 24.
Gade said there have been five sessions with the conciliator to date. Two more are planned for late this week.
If a deal cannot be reached in the two days of conciliation, the
conciliator will issue a no-board report. Once the report is issued it
would start the 17-day countdown to a legal strike-lockout position. The
Society of United Professionals’ Bruce Power Local members voted 97 per cent in
favour of a strike mandate on June 19. It was the first strike vote ever
taken by the Bruce Power Local members.
Gade said that initial strike action would not involve a complete shut-down.