REGINA: Striking members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees settled onto the frozen steps of the Legislature today, where they were joined by CUPE National President Paul Moist.
The group of caregivers employed by Cheshire Homes in Regina has vowed to keep their picket line marching in front of Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building until Buckley Belanger, the minister responsible for group homes and other community-based agencies, agrees to meet with them.
“It’s not just you knocking on the doors of the Legislature, looking for fair treatment,” Moist told the picketers of CUPE Local 3207. “You have more than a half-million CUPE members right behind you, supporting you.”
The employees at Cheshire Homes—who care for mentally and physically challenged adults—have been pursuing a meeting with Minister Belanger since their strike began over a month ago.
Last year, when the provincial government gave group homes across the province significantly more money to improve wages and benefits, Minister Belanger told union leaders that he wanted to know if any agency refused to pass on those increases to its employees.
Joined by CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz and CUPE Saskatchewan Vice-President Frank Mentes, Moist and the striking workers gathered around CUPE flags planted in snow banks flanking the provincial building.
“The government of Saskatchewan meant for this money—$97,000—to go into the hands, and onto the dinner tables of the hard-working, dedicated and underpaid employees of Cheshire Homes,” Moist told the gathered picketers. “You have every right to ask “where did my money go?’”
The employees of Cheshire Homes earn a starting wage of $8.55 an hour, and have been on strike since Jan. 19.
Contact: Mike Keith at 536-4856 or 525-5874 or Margaret Mukakigeli at 531-6863.