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Victory was sweet for 200 Peel CCAC workers on strike for seven weeks to fight concessions around hours of work and benefits.

CUPE 2842 walked off the job May 29 after the employer refused the unions offer to send outstanding issues to binding arbitration.

This agreement was a long time coming, but we achieved all of our major goals, said CUPE representative Paul Jordison. The deal provides for three per cent wage increases for each of three years, starting April 2000. As well, members won evening and weekend premiums as well as signing bonuses of $500 for full-time workers and $300 for part-timers. In addition, there were significant improvements in benefits and most important no concessions.

At a time of crisis in health and home care in Ontario, Peel CCAC management prevented Peel residents from receiving quality home care services by prolonging this strike, said Trudy Mulder-Hall, bargaining committee spokesperson. Instead of assisting with the emergency room crisis, Peel CCAC increased backlogs in already strained emergency rooms.

Management had wanted complete control of hours of work, including assigning 12-hour shifts, changing schedules for the following day without proper notice, and imposing late evening shifts. To cover up the employers mismanagement of the existing benefit plan, the executive director was seeking benefit concessions.

But in the end the determination and solidarity of the workers, many of whom are nurses responsible for case management, was more than management had bargained for.