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Aurora Yellow Brick House shelter and outreach counsellors who, along with shelter residents, were locked out by the agency management on Saturday, January 24, are appealing to the community for support in getting the shelter re-opened and resolving a labour impasse.

Management abruptly closed the Yellow Brick House one of only two womens shelters in York Region on Saturday morning, forcing residents to pack their belongings in garbage bags and boxes, and move to a facility with little security and no access to a kitchen.

We have been concerned for the safety of the women and children displaced when management closed the shelter. Weve focused on ensuring that the residents have what they need, says Coleen Johnson, a counsellor at Yellow Brick House for the past six years and a member of Local 3636 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The 38 unionized counsellors at Yellow Brick House set up pickets at 37 Wellington Street East in Aurora early this morning. The afternoon picket line is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the same location.

CUPE National president Paul Moist and CUPE National secretary-treasurer Claude Gnreux will join the CUPE Local 3636 picket line at 3:30 p.m. today.

We have helped many women in the community get their lives back on track. And there are many people in York Region who have supported the quality work we do through financial donations. We are now calling on them to support us by contacting Yellow Brick House management and telling them to end the lock out of shelter staff, and negotiate a fair contract so that the shelter can re-open and, women in transition, can access safe, secure housing and the counselling support they need, says Johnson.

Johnson is one of nine experienced shelter counsellors who are being terminated under a proposed management re-organization plan. All those targeted for firing are strong union activists or members of the current bargaining committee.


For more information, please contact:
Coleen Johnson, CUPE Local 3636
(519) 942-7209
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774