After eight months on strike to defend their pensions, child care workers with Canadas oldest day care centre have been told the centre is closing and theyre out of a job.
This is an outrage, said Diane Dobusz, spokesperson for striking workers at Victoria Day Care. Its typical of the high-handedness and incompetence this employer has shown from the start of this dispute. First they mismanaged the pension fund, and now theyve run the centre into the ground.
The workers were told the centre was closing immediately because it had run up a deficit over the course of the strike. Management offered workers two weeks severance pay on the condition they agreed to keep the closure secret. The employees, some of whom have worked with the centre for 17 years, refused to be muzzled.
Our centre provided top quality care to children who really needed us special needs kids and the children of immigrant mothers living in downtown Toronto, said Dobusz. We have people waiting years to find a child care space in the centre of the city and now this board says its going to fold up operations because they cant manage. We wont stand for it, said the veteran child care worker.
National President Judy Darcy has pledged that CUPE will explore every avenue available to prevent the closure.
We cant allow these child care spaces to be lost or these workers to be sacrificed, said Darcy. Were going to mobilize our allies in the child care community and on Toronto city council to save Victoria Day Care.
The 25 members of CUPE Local 2563 have been on strike since June 29. The Victoria Day Care offered group care to 90 children and co-ordinated home care for another 260 children.