Sudbury news: Dozens of workers at SNOLAB go on strike

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After talks broke down earlier this week, 52 unionized staff at SNOLAB are on the picket line outside Creighton Mine in Lively.


The United Steelworkers Union said in a news release that members of Local 2020-59 began their strike Wednesday morning.


“We’re hopeful, we’re energetic,” said Lee Herechuck, a senior systems operator who has been with SNOLAB for almost seven years.


“Our members are passionate about their jobs and are extremely proud of the work they do,” added Pascal Boucher, USW area co-ordinator.


“Their expectations of how they should be compensated by SNOLAB are very reasonable and fair.”


In a news release, SNOLAB executive director Jodi Cooley said the lab will remain operating during the work stoppage.


“Following a day of mediation on Monday, SNOLAB presented what we believe is a fair offer,” Cooley said in the release.


“I remain optimistic that we can get back to the bargaining table and reach an agreement … SNOLAB is a world-class science lab, and we all take an immense amount of pride in the work we do. That will not change.”


SNOLAB said they have 129 permanent employees, 52 of whom are unionized. Their salaries range from $43,440 to $81,000.


The unionized staff have a wide range of roles and qualifications, SNOLAB said. Cleaner/maintainers require a high school diploma, while some scientific support staff have PhDs.


Herechuck said the job descriptions can be deceiving. For example, cleaning the floor in a sensitive scientific lab is a complex process.


“We have to maintain a certain level of cleanliness and if these folks do not do their job, there’s be no more science being done,” Herechuck said.


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