The longest strike in Prince Edward Island history is finally over, and the five women at the centre of it all are thrilled with their settlement.
We fought tooth and nail, let me tell you, says Donna Maloney, but we got pretty much everything we wanted.
Maloney and her four colleagues at the Southern Kings Group Home in Montague, PEI were on the picket line for a record 373 days.
We were all screaming and crying when we got the news, says Maloney. I feel so relieved I dont have to stand on the picket line for one more day.
CUPE representative Bill McKinnon says Premier Pat Binns was starting to feel political pressure from the strike. Last month the strikers all traveled to Toronto where they protested a $500-a-plate Tory fundraising dinner hosted by the premier. Thats when the employers approach appeared to change, says McKinnon.
The CUPE 3373 members agree they could not have endured such a long strike without the financial and emotional support from CUPE locals across Canada. If we only had to rely on the resources we had on PEI, wed be on the picket line til we died, says McKinnon.
Maloney says the women are already planning their victory celebration. Theyre going to rent a car and drive to Bathurst, NB to visit one of their fellow strikers, Shari DeJong. DeJong was forced to leave the picket line a few weeks ago, when her husband was transferred.
She spent eleven months on the line with us, says Maloney. She deserves the credit as much as we do. Besides Maloney and DeJong, the other record-setting women were Kim MacKenzie, Naomi Rae MacLean and Amy MacQuarrie.