CUPE National President to join the picket line
ITUNA, SK - Striking group home workers in Ituna voted overwhelmingly to reject the employers final offer last Friday, saying it reflects the same, lame contract proposals that prompted employees to walk off the job June 3.
Deer Park Villa sent the final offer to the union on November 15, more than five months after the strike began. Members voted almost unanimously to reject the offer on November 19.
Deer Park Villa operates three group homes and an activity centre in Ituna for adults with mental and physical challenges. It receives nearly all of its funding from the provincial government.
The 27 CUPE members at Deer Park Villa walked off the job in June, after the employer refused to bargain language that would ensure the fair application of seniority in its hiring practices. CUPE Local 4552 members have been trying to negotiate their first collective agreement for nearly two years.
Four Deer Park residents were sent to other communities when the strike began. Two more were transferred to a private personal care home in Ituna, partly owned and operated by the CEO and the chairperson of Deer Park Villa. The striking workers have denounced the move as a conflict-of-interest.
Although the unions seniority proposal would not cost the employer a dime, the CEO and board have become so entrenched they wont move on the seniority issue. They also have refused the unions repeated request for conciliation to assist with contract negotiations. The two sides only have met once since May.
Its a sad comment on the priorities and values of our CEO and board that they would rather disrupt the lives of the Deer Park residents and divide our community than provide seniority protection for their employees, says union spokesperson Cyndi Salynuik.
Although the CUPE group home workers have been on the picket line for nearly six months, their decision to reject the employers final offer reflects their resolve to achieve a fair contract.
CUPE National President Paul Moist will join the striking group home workers on the picket line in Ituna on Wednesday, November 24, from 1 p.m. 3 p.m.
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For more information, contact Cyndi Salynuik at 795-7755 or CUPE staff representative Aina Kagis at 536-8226