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‘Instead of working to save the shelter, management and board seem more interested in punishing residents who speak up,’ says President of CUPE 4358

The union representing front-line workers at the Second Base Youth Shelter in Scarborough today called on management and the Second Base board to stop focusing on reprisals and start focusing on rescuing the shelter.

“For weeks, we have been quietly trying to work with City Councillors, MPPs, MPs and our community allies to focus on the big picture – saving the only shelter of its kind in Scarborough,” said Collen Dew, President of Local 4358 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4358), which represents Second Base staff.

When they learned yesterday that shelter residents faced reprisals for organizing a rally to support efforts to save the shelter, working quietly was no longer an option for the union.

“A resident was threatened by management for organizing to save the shelter, which goes to show you where this board’s priorities lie. Instead of working to save the shelter, management and the board seem more interested in punishing residents who speak up. To threaten homeless youth for speaking out is beyond appalling,” said Dew.

“The board’s chair claims higher than average salaries are partly responsible for their decision to close the shelter. Our members haven’t had a raise in five years. We have lost front-line staff, while the number of managers has increased. Even now, instead of working to save the shelter, the board and the managers they have appointed in the past three years prefer to blame others for their failure and punish those who would speak out,” she added.

Second Base Youth Shelter is the only shelter serving youth aged 16-21 in Scarborough. Its 60 beds are a vital resource used not only by Scarborough youth, but by young people across the Greater Toronto Area. Unless action is taken, the shelter will close in late October.

“We believe Second Base Youth Shelter can and should be saved. If this board and management team are not up to the task, they need to finally do the right thing and step down so that others who are prepared to do the right thing can take the steps needed to rescue this vital space,” said Dew.

For more information, please contact:

Collen Dew
CUPE 4358 President

Kevin Wilson
CUPE Communications