Guelph, Ont - Frontline Children’s Aid Society (CAS) workers at Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County rejected management’s ‘final’ offer in a ratification vote last night and union representatives have asked the employer to return to the bargaining table to resume negotiations in an effort to avert a service shutdown as early as Saturday, April 9 at 12:01 a.m., says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“This is the second time our members have rejected the agency’s offer and it is clear that management is not addressing issues of inequality and fairness in the workplace, that’s why their ‘final’ offer was rejected,” said Cathy Thomas, president of CUPE 4325. “We’ve asked management to resume bargaining in an effort to reach a fair deal that’s acceptable to our members, so a lockout or a strike is averted and we can continue to serve our clients.”

One of the main issues is the disparity in wage increases between workers and management. In the last contract period, workers were mandated to accept zero per cent increases for two consecutive years while senior management received over 9 per cent wage increases in one year alone.

“All we are asking for is an agreement that creates a more balanced and equal work place where our members’ work is recognized and valued with a fair contract,” continued Thomas. “Our members are here to help at-risk children and their families and the last thing we want is a service disruption that would impact our clients. We hope that management shares our concerns and returns to the bargaining table to reach a fair settlement and avert a pending lockout or strike situation.”

CUPE 4325 represents 130 social service workers who help run the agency and deliver important programs for at-risk children and youth and their families. These workers provide ongoing support and services to approximately 450 families, assist 150 to 200 children in our agency’s care, work with 74 foster families, and handle 25 to 50 walk-ins a day, with many other duties that keep the agency operating on a daily basis. Their previous contract expired on March 31, 2015.

For more information, please contact:

Cathy Thomas
President of CUPE 4325

Diana Zawadzki
CUPE National Representative

James Chai
CUPE Communications