Following a unanimous vote on March 10, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has officially recognized CUPE as the union for workers at the Gilbert Centre for Social and Support Services in Barrie.

“Even in very progressive agencies, workers need a collective voice. When you’re really passionate about what you do and spend your days helping and advocating for others, it can be really hard to advocate for what you need yourself,” said Liisa Schofield, a CUPE representative who has been involved in the organizing drive.

For more than 25 years, the Gilbert Centre, formerly the AIDS Committee of Simcoe County, has been providing programs and services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and families in the Simcoe Muskoka area.

Workers at the Gilbert Centre are becoming part of a CUPE community that includes dozens of similar agencies across the province. CUPE membership includes workers at AIDS service organizations including Positive Living Niagara, the AIDS Committee of Toronto, the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention of Metro Toronto, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS prevention, the African Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario, Africans in Partnership Against AIDS, the 519 Church Street Community Centre and the AIDS Committee of North Bay.