THUNDER BAY, ON A meeting of the Board of Directors of the North of Superior Programs (NOSP) foundered last night when only five board members showed up and the meeting did not achieve quorum. The NOSP board was supposed to be discussing ways to end a three-month strike of social service and mental health workers.
We have hundreds of people suffering because people they depend on are walking picket lines, and we have board members who cannot even get their act together to show up at meetings, says Diane Atkinson, a social worker and spokesperson for Local 3253 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the front-line workers. This is just more evidence that the provincial government needs to step in to help to resolve this strike.
Board members made a commitment a month ago to study possible resolutions to the labour dispute and discuss them at last nights meeting. Resolving this should be the number one issue for every NOSP board member but they just are not there, says Atkinson. This is a true crisis. There are no services while this strike is going on. We help children and adults who are in desperate situations. We save lives.
CUPE Local 3253 held a union meeting yesterday and did achieve quorum. Even though this has been a long, tough strike, everyone is solid, says Atkinson. We do not make great wages for the jobs we do and we have not had a raise for eight years. We have been very patient in the past but the time has come to stand up for our rights.
The 30 workers offer mental health, addiction counselling and integrated services for children in communities all along the north shore of Lake Superior, from Nipigon to Manitouwadge, including Geraldton, Longlac and Nakina.
For further information, please contact:
CUPE National Rep. - 807-345-1731
CUPE 3253 spokesperson - 807-229-7933 (cell)
CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999