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OTTAWA Conciliation talks scheduled for February 1st, 2001 are seen as the last chance to avoid a strike at Robertson House, a retirement home in Nepean, according to Local 3564 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 80 Health Care Aides, RNs, RPNs, Dietary and Housekeeping Workers.

We are doing everything we can to reach a negotiated settlement, ever since talks began four months ago, says Bev Smale, CUPE National Representative. This employer is making it very difficult by offering wages that keep us well behind the rate of inflation. We are prepared to strike if thats what it takes to get a fair deal.

In a secret ballot vote held last Thursday, members of Local 3564 voted 79% in favour of strike action if a settlement cannot be reached.

Their last offer of 1% in each year of a three-year deal doesnt come close to keeping pace with inflation, adds Smale. We care about our patients and the services we provide, and one of the biggest problems with lower wages is staff turnover. If health care workers cant get fair compensation in retirement homes, they will leave in droves for hospitals and other institutions offering better wages the residents will suffer.

If a settlement cannot be reached in mediation, a strike could occur as early as mid-February.


For further information, please contact:
Bev Smale, CUPE National Representative
(613) 237-0115

<a href=mailto:rlamoureux@cupe.ca”>Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications
(416) 292-3999