Workers at the Southern Kings group home in Montague, PEI all of whom are women were locked out May 29. Members of CUPE Local 3373 make 35 per cent less than those doing exactly the same work elsewhere in the province. They have no benefits and no pension plan. Before the lockout, 100 per cent of the members had voted to strike.
This strike is about the Up with Womens Wages campaign, says CUPE rep Bill McKinnon. This is a small local, but I have never seen a group more prepared to stand up for their rights and those of all workers on PEI.
The workers have received tremendous support on the picket line from community members. In addition, every member of the local has been adopted by another CUPE local on PEI.
We care about the residents in our group home and we love our work, says the locked-out Tanya Coffin. But we need to be make a fair wage if we want to keep doing it. We shouldnt have to chose between working at the group home and feeding our kids.
The employer has moved the residents out of the home and has hired first year Holland College students to work as scabs. Despite this, the women are determined to continue fighting until they have won a fair contract.