Last-Minute Deal for Mont Orford

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SAM - Magog, QC, November 28, 2006 - An eleventh hour deal struck by Québec Environment Minister Claude Béchard has saved Québec's Mont Orford's season. The resort was in the throes of a labor dispute, and the differences between management and the union which represented ski area workers seemed intractable. In fact, the situation was so dire that Mont Orford president André L'Espérance had announced that negotiations had failed and that the resort would be shuttered for the winter before Béchard stepped in.

Béchard struck the deal last week between ski resort management and the union representing ski area workers, the Fédération des Travailleurs du Québec (FTQ), after threatening that the government would intervene if the two sides could not reach a resolution to their dispute.

But, a union spokesman has cautioned, that the agreement is only in principle, and that a formal a deal has yet to be signed. Furthermore, workers will not resume their jobs until this occurs.

Union workers were locked out by L'Espérance on Oct. 31 after negotiations with the union stumbled. Both the union and resort management faced local pressure to salvage the season. The Orford strike is not the first in Québec. Last year, employees of Mont Tremblant struck over the Christmas holiday, a move which had a serious impact on that ski area's bottom line. \