The Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County strike will enter its third week as bargaining talks to achieve a fair deal ended when the mediator suspended talks on Wednesday, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“Our biggest concern is that, while our members are on the picket line, the at-risk children, youth and their families will not be receiving the full services that frontline staff provide,” said Cathy Thomas, president of CUPE 4325. “Normally, there are 130 workers delivering important programs at the agency – providing ongoing support and services to approximately 450 families and assisting 150 to 200 children in our agency’s care and working with 74 foster families plus taking in walk-ins every day. There is obviously no way that these services are being delivered while we are out on the picket line.”
The workers are out on strike over issues of inequality at the agency. In the last contract period, workers were mandated to accept zero per cent increases for two consecutive years while senior management received over nine per cent wage increases in one year alone.
“Our job is to take care of at-risk children and youth in our community and we can’t do that if management will not offer us a fair deal so we can get back to work,” continued Thomas. “Management really needs to address the inequality issue – there is a reason why workers are on strike and it is up to management to create a more equal work environment so workers can go back to helping our community’s most vulnerable.”
The workers have been on strike since April 9, 2016. Their previous contract expired on March 31, 2015.
For more information, please contact:
President of CUPE 4325
CUPE National Representative