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PEMBROKE Talks to reach a negotiated settlement at the Renfrew Housing Corporation broke off after the employer continued to seek concessions and refused to bargain, says the union representing 24 custodial, maintenance and clerical workers.

This employer is pushing for a strike or lockout by refusing to negotiate and pushing for major concessions, says Bill Jamieson, president of Local 4425 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The employer applied for conciliation at the beginning of the talks that’s an indication they have no intention of settling this.

Social Housing was downloaded from the province to the municipal level two years ago. The current round of negotiations is for the first new collective agreement with the new municipal employer, Renfrew County Housing Corporation, serving Pembroke, Arnprior, Renfrew, Barry’s Bay, Palmers Rapids, Eganville Cobden, Beachburg and Deep River.

With nothing but take-aways on the table, it looks like we’re heading for a shut-down they’ve even started to make arrangements for scabs to be brought in, says CUPE National Representative Jim Squires. We are appealing to our residents and the broader community to contact county and local politicians and put pressure on the administration to achieve a settlement and avoid what could be a long and bitter labour dispute.

While conciliation talks have yet to be scheduled, given the attitude of this employer, our members will be preparing for a strike or lockout, says Jamieson. This is the last resort because we care about the residents and the services we provide but we’ll need their help to avoid a strike.

All but one member of Local 4425 attended a strike vote meeting last night in Cobden. The result was 100% in favour of strike action if necessary.


For further information, please contact:

Jim Squires, CUPE National Rep., 613-237-0115, 613-330-1527 (cell)
Bill Jamieson, President, CUPE Local 4425, 613-633-0737
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communication, 416-292-3999