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THUNDER BAY, ON The union representing 30 striking social service and mental health workers at North of Superior Programs (NOSP) called managements request for a forced vote on their last contract offer another example of incompetence from NOSP management, and further evidence the provincial government must step in and take control of the dysfunctional board of directors.

This move will only prolong the strike and waste the time and money of the Ministry of Labour, said Diane Atkinson, spokesperson for Local 3253 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Our members are firmly behind the negotiating team, and the employer is again showing a lack of judgment and respect for workers and the communities we serve. How can the Ontario Liberal government continue to sit on their hands?

Forcing a vote on an offer that has been rejected by the negotiating team shows that this employer is more interested in dragging this strike out then resolving the crisis, said Atkinson. Clearly, the board is out of touch with the needs of the clients and our communities. The union learned the employer had only applied for the supervised vote on Friday, Dec. 17th, despite having spent thousands of dollars on ads saying they had contacted the Ministry a week earlier. Employers are allowed to request one supervised vote during the course of a labour dispute. NOSP management also rejected the unions offer to send outstanding issues to arbitration a move that would have ended the strike.

The Liberals need to open their eyes this board of directors has moved beyond dysfunctional to outright incompetent, said Atkinson. Failure to achieve quorum at a meeting to deal with the strike, failure to hear proposed solutions from a board member, rejection of an offer to send outstanding issues to arbitration, unfilled vacancies, and now a forced vote I cant imagine whats next. The Liberals need to be held accountable for letting all this happen.

The real losers in all this are the people who rely on our services, said Atkinson. Its time for politicians to realize they need to do whats best for them.


For further information, please contact:
Dan Pike, CUPE National Rep. - 807-345-1731 - 613-293-3535 (cell)
Diane Atkinson, CUPE 3253 Spokesperson - 807-229-7933 (cell)
James Chai, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999