After four days of bargaining, talks have broken off between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2073 and the Canadian Hearing Society(CHS). Talks were aimed at ending a province-wide strike that started March 6.

“We tried in good faith to reach an agreement with the CHS,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE National Representative. “We take our responsibility to find solutions in a strike situation very seriously. We entered these four days of talks with the aim of doing that. We made significant moves to meet the employer’s stated needs. But we were faced with an employer still more committed to gutting contract rights than ending this strike and restoring services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.”

“I wanted to be able to tell my members we will soon be back on the job and able to restore the vital services the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community relies on,” said Stacey Connor, president of CUPE Local 2073. “I’m disappointed to say that instead I will be telling them to shore up their picket lines, because our employer has not come anywhere close to offering a fair contract. To our many allies and supporters in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, I say thank you for your continued patience. We are doing all we can to resolve this dispute. We know you understand that we are fighting for your services as well as our working conditions, and we are grateful for your ongoing support.”

“We remain available to negotiate,” stressed Wilker-Frey. “But we need a willing partner to resolve this. We are hoping that at some point soon the CHS will realize that the union has addressed its stated major concerns. They need to figure out how to get to yes, to restore the services this community relies on, and to rebuild their relationship with their employees and our community.”

227 CUPE 2073 members work at 24 CHS offices across Ontario, as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists.