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MISSISSAUSAGA, ON – More than forty drivers for Red Cross Mississauga-Halton have decided to exercise their right to strike following an employer campaign of threats and intimidation. Picket lines will go up Monday morning unless an agreement is reached.

Our members have been in a legal strike position since midnight last Friday,” said CUPE National Representative Helen Gibb-Gavel. “Knowing how important their service is to people who have serious medical needs, others with disabilities, and seniors, they decided to continue working while holding information pickets between shifts.

“The Red Cross has responded with threats and intimidation of a group of low-paid workers who are trying to achieve their first collective agreement.”

Employees received voice messages at their homes threatening termination if they picket during work time. However, said Gibb-Gavel, the drivers work split shifts and have held information pickets between those shifts. As well, on Wednesday a man who identified himself as a Red Cross manager threatened to have picketers’ vehicles towed from a parking lot next door to Red Cross headquarters.

Instead of being able to spend our time productively at the bargaining table, trying to negotiate a fair first contract, we will be on the picket lines and at the labour board with a charge of intimidation,” said Gibb-Gavel. “More importantly, people who need assisted transportation are going to see their service disrupted.”

The union is ready to meet at any time before Monday to try to achieve a fair collective agreement and avert a strike, said Gibb-Gavel. If there is no agreement, picket lines will go up at 4:45 a.m. at the Canadian Red Cross office, 5700 Cancross, Mississauga, and 6:30 a.m. at Region of Peel TransHelp, 3190 Mavis Road.

For more information, contact:
Helen Gibb-Gavel
CUPE National Representative
Tel: (905)568-4664; cell 905-242-4207

Pat Daley
CUPE Communications
Tel: (416) 616-6142