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Durham Region’s ‘inside’ municipal workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted to reject the employer’s latest ‘final’ offer. The workers were forced to go on strike on Thursday, June 19, after the employer refused to back down from their concession demands that targeted the Region’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers.

“Our members remain united in their fight for a fair contract for all,” said Pauline Hopley, president of CUPE 1764. “This is a message to management and council that our members will not stand for their divisive tactics. It is time for the employer to stop their divide-and-conquer games and come back to the bargaining table and end this unnecessary strike with a fair contract that does not attack workers who save lives in our community.”

At the heart of this dispute is the employer’s attempt to target the EMS workers’ sick leave benefit. Management wants to penalize EMS workers for getting sick by refusing to pay for the first three days of their sick leave. “It is ironic that Durham Region wants to punish EMS workers who get sick, when all they do is help the sick, the injured and residents in emergency situations,” continued Hopley. “And when the EMS workers, who work in all kinds of difficult situations, fall sick, the employer wants to punish them for getting sick. How is this fair?”

“The last thing we wanted was a dispute that would affect the residents of Durham,” said Hopley. “That was why we offered many different ways to find a solution to avoid a service disruption, but management wanted to push their divisive agenda, and, so now, here we are – in a situation that no one wanted. We are urging management to put their agenda aside and recognize that it is time to negotiate a fair deal and end this unnecessary strike so our members can go back to doing what they do best, serving the residents of Durham.”

For more information, please contact:

Pauline Hopley
President of CUPE 1764

Michelle Miller
CUPE National Representative

James Chai
CUPE Communications
416 458-3983