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PEMBROKE, Ont. – The union representing Ontario Works staff in Renfrew County, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4989, has taken steps to get its members back to work and to restore services Renfrew County residents rely on. Meanwhile, the employer has cancelled meetings to negotiate a return to work protocol, forcing the labour disruption into week 12.

On May 10, CUPE 4989 members went on strike after standing up for the services they deliver. Seventy-six days later, on July 24, the members ratified a tentative agreement that would see them get back to work serving County of Renfrew residents – or so they thought.

More than a week later, these 22 members remain on the picket line after the employer has failed to negotiate a return to work protocol and pending Renfrew County Council’s ratification of the agreement.

The union has held its part of the deal and now it’s time the County and employer do the same – enough is enough! The County of Renfrew was in a rush to hire replacement workers and suddenly there is no rush to restore services,” says Amy Parker, CUPE national representative.

“We have decided to take action to remedy the situation by sending the County CAO, as well as all County of Renfrew councillors, a letter demanding immediate action to get these employees back to work as soon as possible. The document was personally hand-delivered to the parties involved and a response was requested no later than Friday, August 3 at 1 p.m.”

The union’s letter to the County of Renfrew accuses the County of intentional delay and bad faith conduct should the strike drag on beyond next week.

A response provided by the County CAO Friday morning indicated that there will be no effort on their part to remedy the situation prior to August 8, meaning services would not be restored before August 9 at the earliest thereby prolonging the strike another week. In its response, the County did confirm they would be holding a meeting recommending ratification of the agreement on August 8 as planned.

CUPE 4989 members are eager to get back to work and help those that rely on them,” added Parker. “If Renfrew County really believes that these services are a priority for the community as they have claimed during this dispute, services will be restored next week.”

For more information:

Marjorie Savoie, CUPE Communications: (613) 864-9924