Striking group home workers from Deer Park Villa in Ituna, Saskatchewan held an information picket outside the social services office in Moose Jaw on August 10, as part of their summer fairness tour. Its the fourth time in two months the Ituna strikers have hit the road to publicize their bitter contract dispute with their employer.
Sporting Ituna Fairness Tour t-shirts, the 27 Ituna strikers set up picket lines outside the social services office in Moose Jaw to pressure the department to take a proactive role in getting the two sides back to the bargaining table.
The department oversees and funds Deer Park Villa, which operates three group homes and an activity centre in Ituna for adults with mental and physical challenges. The group home workers, members of CUPE 4552 want the government to persuade Deer Park Villa to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a resolution to the two-month old strike.
CUPE members at Deer Park Villa walked off the job on June 3 after the employer refused to bargain language that would ensure the fair application of seniority in its hiring practices. They have been trying to negotiate their first collective agreement for more than a year.
The employer has refused CUPEs repeated requests to return to the bargaining table, saying it will only resume negotiations if the union first drops its proposal for the fair application of seniority rights. Its unbelievable that the employer wont even talk to us about the outstanding issues, said union spokesperson Cyndi Salynuik. Although representatives of the community living division have told the union they are concerned about the well-being of Deer Park Villas clients, they have not instructed the employer return to the bargaining table and resolve the dispute.
Clearly, as the funder of Deer Park Villa, thats the type of action the government should be taking if they are really concerned about the well-being of our residents and clients, said Salynuik.
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