GUELPH, Ont. – Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), could be on strike as early as October 27th, after management continued to demand major concessions at the bargaining table.
“Management has already started telling clients that the shelter will be suspending services later this month,” said Jill Smyth, CUPE national representative. “Clearly this employer is keen on either locking us out or pushing us to go on strike – our members will not be intimidated and will remain united until we get a fair deal.” The workers voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action if a settlement cannot be reached.
Management wants to reduce sick leave, cut bereavement leave, stop paying workers when they attend labour-management meetings, among other concession demands. “We’re just struggling to hang on to what we currently have in our collective agreement, but the employer seems determined to roll back our contract, even if they have to shut down the shelter to do it,” said Smyth.
CUPE 4393 represents workers who offer support and counselling services to abused women and their children in Guelph and across the county, including a full shelter program for abused women and children at Marianne’s Place, individual and group counselling for the Sexual Assault Centre, Transition and Housing Support Program and Rural Women’s Support Program.
“Management’s unreasonable concession demands will lead us to a labour dispute that will end up hurting women and children escaping abusive situations,” said Smyth. “Our members are asking women’s groups, community supporters and residents to contact the board of directors and management, to tell them to stop attacking the rights of workers who help women in crisis in our community.” The workers’ last contract expired on March 31st, 2006. Mediation talks are scheduled for October 26th.
For further information, please contact:
CUPE National Representative