Employees at the Akoma Family Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia have voted 94.4% in favour of job action. The approximately 20 youth care workers and support staff look after younger children with behavioural or developmental challenges. They are represented by CUPE 3306.

CUPE representative Karen MacKenzie says members took the strike vote over stalled bargaining at the community services lead table. “There is nothing outstanding at the local table,” she says. “While not all proposals at the lead table affect these folks, a major issue for them is pensions. They may be a small local, but they are not afraid to stand up for their rights.”

MacKenzie says the collective agreement expired on March 31, 2021, and the employees have not seen a wage increase since that time.

Acting President for the local, Areta Boone, says the employees are ready to take job action for higher pay and a defined pension plan instead of an RRSP.

“We are taking care of some of the most vulnerable children in the province, and our pay and benefits don’t reflect that,” she says. “Our hope is that we can convince the government we are serious, and that they come back to the table with a fair and respectful offer.”

Before the 14-day countdown to job action can begin, the local is required to have an essential services plan in place, which they are waiting for the employer to sign off on. CUPE 3306 is the fourth community services local in Nova Scotia to hold a positive strike vote.