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In a true show of solidarity, more than a hundred York Region municipal and library workers, members of CUPE 905, braved cold temperatures and a hurling wind to walk in step with shelter workers in front of Yellow Brick House, a womens shelter in Aurora. It was a big boost for the 40 shelter workers, members of CUPE 3636, who are facing a hard-line employer determined to undermine basic job security.

Local 905 organized the demonstration to give shelter management a clear message that any attempt to re-organize the workplace by terminating nine counsellors (who are coincidently all union activists) and replacing them with new hires with specialized degrees will not be tolerated. The activists also wanted to condemn intimidation tactics used by the employer that include circulating an offer directly to members' homes in December and an application to the Labour Relations Board for a forced, supervised final offer vote.

Its despicable that this employer providing shelter and services for women fleeing abuse, is using bullying and intimidation to force through terminations of female workers. It's union busting of the worst kind. And we wont allow it to happen in York Region, says CUPE 905 president Kim Perry.

Management thinks targeting union activists for firing will go unnoticed by the broader labour community. Well, that couldnt be further from the truth. There are 3,500 members in our local, and the sisters in CUPE 3636 have our unconditional support. This is what solidarity looks like. And this employer will soon see union solidarity in action, up close and personal, Perry says.

For months, the shelter workers have negotiated with their employer, trying repeatedly to reach a collective agreement and avoid a labour dispute that would disrupt services for women fleeing abusive relationships. But Yellow Brick House management has stymied the bargaining process at every turn.

In November the employer walked away from negotiations and immediately filed for a no board report that put them in a legal lockout position. During the holiday season they applied to the labour board for a forced, supervised final offer vote, and then cancelled two days of scheduled negotiations.