It took 43 days on a picket line for striking group home workers in Regina to achieve a fair contract settlement, but it was worth every step, according to union spokesperson Margaret Mukakigeli.
“I want to thank CUPE members and staff across the country for their tremendous support. Without it, I don’t think we could have walked for so many days and achieved our goal of a fair wage increase,” says the CUPE Local 3207 President.
“There were so many acts of warmth, kindness and solidarity from our sisters and brothers in the labour movement. It meant a lot to us.”
Cheshire Homes, which operates five homes in Regina for adults with mental and physical challenges, had received a 17% funding increase from the provincial government in November 2005 for wage and benefit improvements.
But when CUPE Local 3207 went to the bargaining table last year, the employer refused to offer more than a 2% increase – a move that provoked the strike by the 35 CUPE members on January 19.
Last week, the strikers achieved a settlement that provides a 14.4% increase. Mukakigeli and her co-workers are elated.
“Despite the long walk, despite the long battle – we have battled like never before – the end results are very good,” she told a local newspaper.
The CUPE Local 3207 members return to work tomorrow, March 14.