Drivers for Red Cross Mississauga-Halton Branch held the first in a series of information pickets on June 1 to let the public know that they need a living wage. More than 40 CUPE members seeking a first contract are in a legal strike position, but decided to maintain services for dialysis patients, seniors and other passengers for the time being.
With support from their CUPE sisters who work as passenger attendants, the picketers got lots of honks of support from passing motorists.
“We have a situation where some of the drivers, especially the part-timers, would actually be better off on strike pay,” CUPE National Representative Helen Gibb-Gavel said. “There is no rhyme or reason to the way Red Cross pays its drivers.” The association has 14 pay scales for 47 drivers, she said, noting that two drivers who have done the same job for the same length of time could easily be paid different rates. The majority earn less than $13 an hour.
The Region of Peel also has some responsibility for the drivers’ low pay, said Gibb-Gavel. The region’s TransHelp service, also staffed by CUPE members, has contracted its Passenger Assistant Program to the Red Cross.
“The region should not be trying to save money by contracting out service to an agency that pays its drivers significantly less than what TransHelp drivers earn,” she said. “If there is going to be a contract, it should be based on fairness and respect for all workers providing the service. Why should Red Cross passengers not get the same consistent service as other TransHelp passengers get from drivers who feel secure in their jobs?”
Take Action Now
Please take a minute to visit http://cupe.ca/action/red-cross-drivers . It takes two minutes and you can make a difference.
Fill out the online message, which will be sent to Cindy Malcolm, Director of Regional Operations, Red Cross and Emil Kolb, Chair of Peel Region. Tell them that Red Cross should return to the table and negotiate a fair collective agreement without a lockout or strike. Tell Peel Region that their contracts should provide enough funding to pay a living wage to the people who do their work.
Help Red Cross drivers avert a strike and win a living wage!