MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, May 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action against its employer Candu Energy Inc., an SNC-Lavalin subsidiary. "Candu Energy has taken fractious approach to labour negotiations that has forced SPEA to take this action," said Mark Chudak, President of SPEA. "We have issued the mandatory 72-hour strike notice to SNC-Lavalin for strike action to commence May 29th."
SPEA's contract with Candu Energy expired at the end of 2021.
"It is incredibly frustrating that after months of bargaining and government-mediated conciliation efforts, there has been virtually no progress," said Chudak.
Candu Energy has returned to the anti-union approach it took in the past, marked by a 12+ week strike shortly after SNC-Lavalin took over AECL's nuclear reactor business in 2011. "After 2014, SNC-Lavalin changed course, renewing its board and its senior executives. This included taking a more collaborative approach to labour relations," said Denise Coombs, SPEA Staff Representative.
In the early stages of collective bargaining negotiations, the company unilaterally cut off members' ability to email their legal bargaining representatives, blocking all communications involving members' work addresses at a time when electronic communications are essential. Employees have been prohibited from sharing information with their union, under threat of termination.
Coombs further pointed out, "These tactics deprive our members and future members of proper representation and protection from their union. For example, during a surge in the pandemic, an employee forwarded to SPEA a management email directing staff to begin attending client sites in person. SPEA raised these concerns with management. In response, employees were told that sharing any internal directives with their union is prohibited ? even those concerning health and safety during a pandemic."
"Candu Energy requires highly specialized scientific and engineering staff. We need to make sure we can keep and attract the top-tier talent we need to deliver critical refurbishment and maintenance work for Ontario's nuclear fleet," said Chudak. "We are determined to do whatever it takes to reach fair, competitive agreements, and swiftly. But we need Candu Energy to bring the same focus to the bargaining table."
The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates is an independent union representing engineers, scientists, technical and administrative staff, who work for Candu Energy Inc- Nuclear division of SNC-Lavalin (formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Candu division) in Mississauga, Ontario and abroad (excluding AECL Chalk River Laboratories). Formed in 1974, SPEA is one of the oldest professional unions in Canada.
For further information contact:
Michelle Duncan, Staff Representative
Email: [email protected]