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South Huron Front line staff with South Huron Community Living are furious that their agency administration is attempting to incite workers to scab in the event of a strike or lockout at the agency.

A letter dated April 20, 2005, sent directly to front line staff who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2597, shows senior agency management is appealing to agency workers to continue working in the event of a strike or lockout.

This is disgraceful and blatantly disrespectful to front line staff who are determined to avert a strike. It shows that this employer is not committed to negotiating a settlement. They are gearing up for a strike instead.

Its also disrespectful to the parents and families of the individuals the front line staff support. Parents should be incensed that this agency administration would incite this kind of labour turmoil instead of putting their energy into reaching a settlement and averting a strike. They should also be very concerned about the level of care and support their loved ones will receive under these circumstances, says CUPE national representative Jennifer Kaufmann.

The following excerpt from the employers letter clearly positions the administrations intent to use workers now employed at the agency as scabs.

We also recognize that employees have the right to continue working and that some of you may choose to do so. Because there will likely be some adjustments necessary to staffing assignments in the event of a strike, we will be providing you with contact information so that those who do wish to continue working can receive their reporting instructions in advance of the commencement of the strike.

CUPEs past experience with labour disputes at community living agencies shows that workplaces rarely recover from the acrimony and discord caused when scabs are used to break a strike.

Surely this administration should consider what encouraging workers to scab and cross a picket line will mean to the future of labour relations at the agency. Above all, they need to recognize the disastrous result this will have on the quality of services for clients in the future, says Kaufmann.


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Kaufmann, CUPE National Representative - (519) 679-2112

Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - (416) 578-8774