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TorontoCounsellors at Yellow Brick House - one of only two womens shelters in York Region - say they will continue to fight the proposed termination of nine shelter workers, despite a strong-arm move by shelter management that forces a final contract offer vote on Friday, January 9, 2004.

Although Yellow Brick House management committed to resuming contract negotiations on January 6 and 7 and gave assurances there would be no inflammatory actions over the holiday season, they applied to the Ontario Labour Board to initiate and supervise a final offer vote, a rarely used provision under the labour code.

Forcing a vote is just another clear example of the type of intimidation we are constantly subjected to by this employer. It also shows how insincere our employer really is. We have two scheduled bargaining days this week, where we should be negotiating a new contract. But management has no intention of negotiating fairly, because theyve already applied to the Labour Board to force us to vote on a previous offer, made before the New Year.

This bullying, strong-arm behavior is exactly why as women workers, who counsel women facing abusive relationships, we are taking a stand and breaking the silence about the abusive tactics used by our employer, says Colleen Johnson, a counsellor at Yellow Brick House, and a member of Local 3636 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The forty Yellow Brick House shelter and community outreach counsellors are determined to fight managements attempt to re-organize the workplace, by terminating nine shelter counsellors and replacing them with new hires with specialized degrees and multi-lingual skills. Coincidently, all the staff on managements lay-off list are either on the union executive or strong union activists

If expansion of shelter and outreach services is necessary to accommodate the needs of new residents in the community, it should be done through new hires as positions become vacant or additional funds are raised, and not through dismissal of existing, dedicated staff, says Johnson.

The Labour Board supervised vote will take place at 37 Wellington St. East, Aurora, on Friday, January 9 from 8:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m.


For more information, please contact:
Colleen Johnson, Counsellor, Yellow Brick House
(519) 942-7209
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications Representative
(416) 578-8774