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An Open Letter to the
Board of Directors of
Senior Peoples Resources in North Toronto (SPRINT)

October 18, 2000

Its day 42 of our strike the days are getting shorter and colder and damper some days, the wind goes right through my clothes and when I go home at night, I cant shake the chill from my bones. Moneys tight; but then it always has been…I cant depend on SPRINT for steady work…somehow, as always, I will pay the rent, feed the kids…well get by the best we can.

Halloweens coming…I guess we can make some costumes for the kids and buy some candy to hand out, but I worry, will I be able to afford some presents for the kids for Christmas? They dont understand…how do I explain this to them?

How do I explain to them why SPRINT wont pay me what Im owed in pay equity since 1995? How do I explain to them why Jane wants to hire new employees and give them my hours at a lower rate, even when she has been told by the Pay Equity Commission that this is illegal?

Jane tells the press and the public that our bargaining demands are reasonable, so why does she continue to force us to be on the picket line…why, when she can afford to move to new offices, to pay consultants, to buy new computers, to pay an agency more than shes willing to pay me? How do I explain this to my kids?

How do I explain to them why Jane wants to take away my training hours, my travel allowance, why she doesnt want to pay me for administrative duties that I have to do as part of my job?

How do I explain to them why Jane refuses to create full-time jobs with benefits at Supportive Housing and Ewart Angus? Why she wants to treat these workers differently than workers at the ADP or at the Head Office? Why she wants to treat Supportive Housing Workers as casual workers, even though they work full-time regular hours…how do I explain this to them?

How do I explain Janes attitude about the Union, why she refuses to recognize that we workers at SPRINT are the Union, not some outside body that dictates to us, as she suggests? I think its just more of Jane not treating us with respect…does she think we cannot make our own decisions? I can tell you that no-one has forced us to take strike action…other than Jane. We have the support of our National Union…we make our own decisions.

Why is Jane pretending that everythings business as usual…we know thats not true and she knows thats not true…both the quantity and quality of service SPRINT can provide has been hurt and she and her consultant refuse to come to the table. We were told by the mediator that Janes message is dont call us, well call you…is that responsible management?

I really enjoy working with my seniors, and I miss them, but I know they understand that I must take a stand for my right to a decent wage and benefit package to take care of my family, and to be treated with some dignity and respect for the work I do for them.

I ask the Board on behalf of all of the members of CUPE Local 3896 and their families to direct Jane to comply with the Pay Equity Act, to re-examine her budget priorities, to give front-line workers the respect we deserve, and to get back to the bargaining table…is it too much to ask that we receive a living wage…that we as front-line workers, the people who actually deliver the services SPRINT provides to our community, be treated as a priority in your budget decisions?

You could spend your time and money fighting us at the Labour Board and at the Pay Equity Commission, or you could find a way to not only provide a quality service to seniors in our community, but to also provide a decent and respectful working environment for your front-line workers…the choice is yours.

While its getting colder out here, I can tell you that I will not give up and I will stay strong with my sisters and brothers, with my Union…for my future, for my kids future, and for the quality services that we provide to our community in North Toronto.

Sincerely,

A Striking Member of Local 3896

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