MISSISSAUGA, ON – Peel Region’s public health nurses and Ontario Works staff have overwhelmingly voted in support of their bargaining committee’s efforts to secure a fair collective agreement and protect vital public services from their employer, the Region of Peel.
On September 30 and October 6, the 246 public health nurses and 466 Ontario Works staff, members of Local 966 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), gave mandates of 96 and 93 per cent to their bargaining committees to take whatever steps are necessary to obtain a fair collective agreement.
“Our members take their responsibilities to the community and the people they directly assist very seriously,” said Local 966 president Mary Jo Falle.
“That they have voted so strongly in support of their bargaining committee should send an equally strong message to our employer that they cannot use these negotiations to attack working people and the important services so many people in the Region rely upon,” she added.
Both units have gone through several days of bargaining with the employer. However, little progress has been made on virtually every outstanding issue.
By voting in support of their bargaining committee, members have clearly signaled that they will support whatever steps are necessary to achieve a fair agreement, said Falle.
Several outstanding issues remain for both units, including hours of work and the employer’s refusal to stop increasing workloads through attrition and restructuring.
“Our public health nurses are on the front lines of making sure we don’t have another SARS outbreak. As a region, we are still dealing with effects of the recession. This is the worst time possible for our employer to have more Ontario Works clients spending less time with caseworkers whose workloads are being increased,” said Falle.
“The only thing worse than that would be a disruption of services, and we are well aware of that. Nobody on our side wants a strike, and we are prepared to negotiate around the clock to prevent such a thing from happening,” she added.
For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Falle
CUPE Local 966president
CUPE National representative