WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2012) - Technicians and Technologists at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Whiteshell Laboratories voted overwhelmingly to reject the company's final offer and strike as they pursue a first collective agreement. These employees recently formed the Whiteshell Technical Employees Group (WTEG) and joined the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).
Until June 2011, the AECL Whiteshell Technicians and Technologists were not unionized. As a result, they were regularly bypassed for the salary increases and benefits received by their unionized counterparts. Their bargaining objective is to achieve salary and benefits comparable to their colleagues.
On September 13, 2012, without notice AECL tabled a "take-it-or-leave it" offer. If accepted, Whiteshell Technicians and Technologists would continue to have lower salaries, inferior severance and pension protection and significantly lesser maternity and parental benefits.
PIPSC President Gary Corbett said, "It's unconscionable that the same class of employees working for the same employer would receive significantly different pay and benefits. Pensions and severance should be protected for all, not just some. Until AECL stops treating them as second class employees, there's going to be push back".
"After a year of extremely frustrating negotiations, it's become clear AECL intends to keep pressuring us until we give in. We won't. We intend to achieve equality with our peers. If the employer continues to flaunt this double standard, we're ready to do what we have to in order to protect our members' rights", said Syd Jones, President of WTEG.
AECL Technicians and Technologists at the Whiteshell Laboratories monitor and maintain safe operation of all nuclear facilities, monitor emissions of potentially radioactive substances to the environment and ensure the protection of the public and the environment.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 60,000 professionals and scientists across Canada including 800 professional engineers, scientists, technicians and technologists at AECL's Whiteshell and Chalk River Laboratories.