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Striking workers at the Salvation Army men’s hostel in Ottawa, members of PSAC, have asked for our support in stepping up the pressure for a settlement.

The 57 men and women are in the eighth week of their strike, after trying for two years to conclude a first collective agreement. They are seeking parity with Salvation Army workers in Kingston who earn significantly more for the same work.

These front line workers currently earn a dollar or so above minimum wage for difficult, demanding and often dangerous work. They have been subjected to arbitrary discipline, harassment and abuse ever since the Local union was organized. The strikers have been subject to threats, racial abuse and physical assault. Clients are being asked to do the work of striking employees being paid with cigarettes and movie passes.

While the employer claims that it cannot afford to increase wages, managers have been given an 18% increase. Replacement workers are being paid higher rates and huge sums are being spent on security guards and surveillance equipment.

The PSAC is asking CUPE members to “put nothing in the kettle, until they settle”, withholding donations to the Red Shield Appeal until the dispute is resolved, while diverting donations to organizations doing similar work and pressuring Salvation Army leadership to settle. Call local Salvation Army offices to express your concern or fax Donald Kerr, the Territorial Commander for Canada and Bermuda, at (416) 422-6241.