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Aurora Yellow Brick House shelter and outreach counsellors have ratified a new collective agreement, effectively ending a 69-day lock out. Since January 24, when the Yellow Brick House management and board of directors locked out shelter workers and residents, women fleeing domestic abuse or who are homeless in the York Region community, have had minimal access to shelter and support services.

A controversial workplace re-organization plan at the centre of the labour dispute is not included in the memorandum of agreement between the union and the employer. Throughout the labour impasse, CUPE argued that managements re-organization scheme which would introduce new clinical services at the agency should be dealt with separately from contract negotiations.

The proposed re-organization plan drew the attention and ire of womens rights advocates who have traditionally opposed the provision of clinical services like mental health assessment and addiction counselling at womens shelters.

During the lock out, the shelter workers garnered considerable community support for a lobby campaign aimed at the Ministry of Community and Social Service (the agencys main funder) that includes:
  • An operational review of Yellow Brick House;
  • A democratic process to ensure a community-based, women-controlled board of directors at the agency;
  • An end to the creeping shift of clinical services at womens shelters.
The three-year agreement includes a new salary scale with wage increases of between 2 and 10 per cent.

In a separate settlement, a substantive voluntary leave monetary package was negotiated and made available to all shelter and outreach counsellors who chose to leave the agency.


For more information, please contact:

Daniela Scarpelli CUPE National Representative (416) 458-0588

Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 578-8774