St. Catharines, ON … After months of negotiating and over 40 hours of Ministry of Labour supervised Conciliation talks, formal contract Mediation between CUPE and Family and Children Services Niagara will begin Friday, November 20, National Child Day, in St. Catharines, just days away from a ministry imposed strike/lockout deadline of midnight November 25.
“We don’t want a strike, we want to resolve issues and build a partnership with the employer that’s about pressuring the Ontario government to properly fund children’s aid so we can all focus on the care and well being of families and kids,” Jamie Coring, a FACS Niagara worker and President of CUPE Local 2328 said today.
“We’ve been trying really hard to make this bargaining work, but it’s difficult when FACS Niagara management stubbornly continues to try and minimize their operating deficit on the backs of front line child protection workers,” Coring says.
CUPE National Representative Mike Stokes will assist the local union at Mediation on Friday. Stokes says “there is no reason we can’t get a settlement - others in the province have done it – it just requires management to take a partnership approach and start going after the province to deal with the chronic underfunding.”
Management and unionized staff at most children’s aid facilities in Ontario are expected to wear Blue Ribbons on November 20, National Child Day, to raise awareness about under-funding of Children’s Aids by the Ontario government.
Mediation talks, supervised by the Ontario Ministry of Labour will take place at the Quality Hotel, 325 Ontario St., St. Catharines, starting at 9:00am, Friday, November 20.
CUPE Local 2328 represents 279 front line workers and support staff at Family And Child Services Niagara at offices in Niagara Falls, Welland and St. Catharines and working in community support programs such as Child Care Programs, a 24 hr. staff run group home for 20 of Niagara’s most high needs, high risk youth and at a Family Counseling Centre.
Jamie Coring, President - CUPE Local 2328 905-321-8275
Mike Stokes, CUPE National Representative 905-650-6693
Chris Watson, CUPE Communications 416-553-9410