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The 93 members of CUPE Local 2719 have been on strike at the Maples Personal Care Home in Winnipeg for a month now. While morale is high on the picket line, there is no end in sight for the strike.

According to local president Virginia Monton, We’re going to fight this to the end. We are not treated fairly and we know this employer is not reasonable.

We’re getting good support from the community and from the family members (of the residents and patients in the home). We are also getting CUPE members from all over the city joining us on the picket line, she says.

Maples is a privately owned personal care home that pays wages and benefits below the standards set at public facilities in the province. The starting wage is about $9.75 while workers at the Health Sciences Centre who do comparable work start at about $12 per hour.

The members are mainly women and most have immigrated from the Philippines. They work as health care aides, dietary and activity workers.

In 1999, the Maples workers were locked out of their jobs for three weeks when collective bargaining broke down due to employer intransigence.

A new collective agreement was reached at another privately owned personal care home in Winnipeg. Members of CUPE Local 3753 ratified a contract that will give them a wage increase of 16 per cent over three years, shift premiums and a pension plan (which costs the employer another 4 per cent).

Messages of support can be sent to the strikers c/o the CUPE Regional Office, 275 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg MB, R3C 4M6. Faxes can be sent to (204) 956-7071 and emails c/o mkernaghan@cupe.ca.