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Picket lines went up February 21 at the Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board where members of CUPE Local 4357 are in a fight for basic rights including benefits for part-time workers, long-term disability protection for all employees and decent hours of work. The workers are spread over a wide area of Northern Ontario, providing social services to communities from New Liskeard and Kirkland Lake to Latchford and the Quebec border.

This fight is about job security and basic benefits, and the rights of temporary and contract workers, said CUPE representative Denis Rg0069mbald. This employer refuses to provide long-term disability benefits and will not agree to no-contracting out protection.

Overtime provisions dont even kick in until after 88 hours of work over a two-week period, added Rg0069mbald.

This employer was looking for a strike, said Rg0069mbald. Even before talking to us, they hired a well-known anti-union lawyer, Robert Budd, with a track record of prolonged and bitter strikes in Toronto and other communities.