Paul Moist joined supporters of child care workers at an information picket outside Ottawa’s Andrew Fleck child care centre July 19.
The workers, members of CUPE 2204, are facing major concessions in an extremely difficult round of bargaining that resumes July 26.
Moist was clear that CUPE does not want a disruption at the centre, but said the severe concessions the employer wants are sending bad signals.
“Up to now, the relationship has been very positive,” Moist said. “Parents value the work of the child care workers and early learning professionals, so garnering parent support is critical to try to stave off a disruption here.”
Moist stressed that it’s not wages that are the issue here – it’s concessions. The employer is seeking to eliminate bumping rights for senior employees and cancel pregnancy and parental leave benefits, among other concerns.
“Once you get a chance to explain to parents that we’ve already tentatively agreed to a 1.5 per cent wage increase, parents understand the situation in a new way,” Moist said, noting that it was “mission accomplished” this morning.
About 50 parents received information about the employers harsh concessions and got the message that child care workers want a fair collective agreement, not one that rolls back existing rights and benefits.
Rachel Besharah, President of CUPE 2204 which represents child care workers across Ottawa, hoped for a balanced resolution when the two sides resume bargaining on July 26.
“We’d like to balance the interests of the members while recognizing the concerns the employer has around seniority and bumping procedures. We need to do this without infringing upon members’ seniority rights,” Besharah said.
Besharah was clear about CUPE’s desire to maintain a healthy working relationship.
“We have a long standing relationship with this employer that’s been healthy and productive and we’d be very sorry to lose that.”