What began as strike support became a celebration when CUPE members from as far away as Ottawa, Hamilton and Windsor traveled to Kirkland Lake earlier this month to help CUPE Local 3440 members ensure they had a Christmas to remember.
Workers at the Kirkland Lake Association for Community Living had a Christmas party planned for December 8. But several weeks into what turned out to be a two-month strike they were beginning to worry if there would be much under their trees this year.
Locked in a bitter strike, they had won the support and solidarity of social service workers across Ontario, some of whom trekked monthly to the northern Ontario town to swell the ranks on the picket lines. Learning of 3440’s plans for Christmas, their CUPE sisters and brothers determined they would not be alone.
Donations were collected from a number of Ontario locals and district councils and from CUPE Local 459 in Montreal. CUPE Local 2862, representing ACL workers in Ottawa, themselves veterans of a bitter strike, raffled off the services of its executive for one day to raise funds.
With the proceeds, Christmas gifts were purchased for ten families, with two presents for each child – one received at the party and a second for under the tree.
The celebration was a great success and you can bet that on Christmas morning as their children open their gifts, members of CUPE Local 3440 will again be reminded of the generosity and solidarity of their CUPE family.