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Tentative deal rejected, strike continues in Black River-Matheson

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A bitter labour dispute involving municipal workers in the community of Black River-Matheson continues.

Members of CUPE Local 1490 rejected a tentative deal with the town in a vote held Friday.

Workers have been on the picket line since last October. In that time, there have been court cases and allegations from both sides.

The province stepped in last month and ordered new elections in the town after enough councillors refused to attend meetings, meaning there was no quorum and business couldn’t be conducted.

The tentative contract was agreed to several weeks ago, but the sides couldn’t agree on a back-to-work protocol. After the council was dissolved in late April, a vote could be held and workers said no.

CUPE president Serge Bouchard said the bargaining unit is seeking to return to the table and resume negotiations with the employer and is hopeful an agreement can be reached soon.

In a statement to CTV News, town CAO Chris Wray said they are disappointed.

“The Township of Black River-Matheson is very disappointed with the result,” Wray said in an email.

“We are currently looking into the circumstances around the failed vote.”

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