Winnipeg – Frontline workers at Osborne House, represented by CUPE, have given their employer notice that they will strike on Friday, June 23rd, if there is no progress in bargaining a new collective agreement.
Bargaining that has been going on since the collective agreement expired in March 2005 has reached an impasse according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE represents the 47 staff who help abused women and children in the women’s shelter. Negotiations have stalled over wages and other monetary issues.
“We’ve reached a wall – the members want to improve their wages, to bring up their salary at least close to what others who work in this field get, but the employer won’t agree to any salary increase,” according to CUPE National Representative Mark Kernaghan.
The Union has proposed improvements to the existing collective agreement and wage parity with others working in domestic violence programs within the province.
According to Kernaghan, “the wage levels are such that it is the commitment of these workers to their jobs, to the women in crisis, that is keeping them there. It’s not the wage. The average worker is getting about $30,000, just above the poverty line. It doesn’t make sense.”
Collective bargaining, with the help of a Conciliation Officer, has not made progress on key monetary issues.
The union was in a strike position after members voted to strike last month.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services. CUPE represents frontline workers in two women’s shelters and other social service agencies that deal with domestic violence.
For information, contact:
CUPE National Representative