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Local 4989 ready to bargain, need willing partner at table

RENFREW, ON – The leadership of Local 4989 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4989) wishes to clarify the record following a series of statements made last week regarding bargaining between Local 4989 and the County of Renfrew.

Contrary to public statements from Renfrew County Social Services Chair Peter Emon, no agreement was ever reached between Local 4989 and the County.

What happened, in fact, was the County presented us with what they called their “final offer”, and demanded we take it to the members for a vote,” said CUPE National Representative Amy Parker.

Although we were under no obligation to do so, we agreed to put their offer to members for a vote. The members reviewed the offer, which wasn’t very different from the County’s last offer and rejected it,” she added.

The 22 members of Local 4989 who administer Ontario Works for the County of Renfrew have been on strike since May 10 in an effort to secure a fair settlement. Before the strike, they provided critical supports to 1,100 people receiving social assistance in the County, helping them achieve financial independence.

Their services are crucial in a region where Ontario Works caseloads are climbing by an average of 38 new clients monthly.

We need to be clear with residents across the County – CUPE 4989 never had an agreement with the County of Renfrew, save and except for an agreement to take their offer back to the members for a vote. We warned them that their offer would not be accepted by the members. We were not listened to,” said Parker.

She added that the quickest way to restore full service to the people who rely the supports provided by Ontario Works staff is a quick return to the bargaining table.

Local 4989 is ready to bargain on short notice.

Immediately after our members rejected the County’s last offer, we informed their negotiators that we were available to bargain a fair settlement. Instead of offering us bargaining dates, they have taken out help-wanted ads in local newspapers,” said Parker.

We are committed to reaching a settlement that is fair to residents, fair to our members and protects the important services our members provide, but we can’t do that by ourselves. We need a willing partner at the table,” she added.

For more information, contact:

Amy Parker, CUPE National Representative, 613-735-3500

Marjorie Savoie, CUPE Communications, 613-864-9924