GUELPH, ON – After repeated attempts by CUPE asking management to return to the bargaining table, management at Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County is pushing workers on strike by flatly rejecting the union’s latest invitation to meet Saturday, April 9. Picket lines will go up on Monday, April 11, at 8:30 a.m. at 275 Eramosa Road, Guelph. The union remains open to bargain with management over the weekend to reach a settlement prior to picket lines going up.

“It is unfortunate management is not willing to find solutions and prevent a service disruption,” said Cathy Thomas, president of CUPE 4325. “Unfortunately it is the at-risk children, youth and families that will be affected by management’s repeated refusal to resume bargaining.”

“We requested management to return to the bargaining table on Wednesday night right after our members rejected their last offer, as it failed to appropriately address issues of disparity and inequality at the agency,” continued Thomas. “In spite of their refusal to meet, we worked through the mediator all day yesterday to find a resolution including sending an offer to kick start bargaining again. Instead of making a counter offer to move the process forward, the employer demanded we endorse their offer to our members, without letting us see what was in their package. That’s not bargaining. In the end management made no attempt to make a counter offer.”

“Since that process was not helping us move forward, we then offered a face to face meeting with management for Saturday morning in an effort to resolve the outstanding issues and yet again the employer refused,” said Thomas. “How can we find an appropriate solution if management continues
to say no to even meeting in person? That’s why picket lines will be going up on Monday but we remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement and are willing to meet over the weekend before the picket signs go up. Our members just want a fair contract that addresses the ongoing inequality issues at the agency.”

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