SNC-Lavalin still has far to go to respect employees’ workplace rights, SPEA warns
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, June 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On June 13, 2022, SNC-Lavalin workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) voted overwhelmingly in favour of new collective agreements with Candu Energy, ending strike action that began on May 29, 2022.
“This agreement is a significant victory made possible by scientists, engineers, technicians and technologists standing together, and moves beyond the employer’s pre-strike “Best and Final Offer” in several meaningful ways,” says Mark Chudak, President of SPEA.
The ratified agreement establishes wage increases with inflation protection, enables a safe, flexible return-to-work policy, and provides numerous benefit enhancements. It also includes an end to the employer’s controversial June 2nd ‘mandatory, full-time return to the office’ order, in which hundreds of employees who had been exclusively working from home were ordered back to the office with one business days’ notice.
“While we are pleased with these collective agreements, important issues remain unresolved,” explains SPEA spokesperson Denise Coombs. “These negotiations were marked by anti-union hostility leading to completely avoidable disruptions for clients.”
Led by Bill Fox III, Candu Energy’s President, took an extremely hard line, advancing union-busting proposals, including the draconian June 2nd ‘mandatory, full-time return to the office’ decree, a blatant attempt to force SPEA into accepting an unfavourable agreement.
“SNC-Lavalin continues to obstruct members’ access to their union and the union’s access to relevant workplace documents,” adds Coombs. “The employer cut off emails between SPEA and our members at the start of negotiations last December. This was a violation of the Canada Labour Code, and we have taken legal action. We tried to resolve this issue at the bargaining table, but the employer wouldn’t budge,” said Coombs.
“The SNC-Lavalin team, led by Fox, used aggressive anti-union tactics that are antithetical to efforts to create a culture of integrity and transparency that is sorely needed at SNC-Lavalin to recover from its past scandals,” said Fuel Designer and SPEA Executive Committee Member Akashkeep Gill. “US-style anti-union posturing has no place in Ontario’s nuclear industry, which is proudly union.”
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