Members of CUPE 4891, which represents workers at Regeneration Community Services, have responded to the employer’s attempt to impose a three-year wage and benefit freeze by voting 92% in favor of striking if necessary.

“After the appointment of a conciliation officer and months of talks, our employer continues to insist on freezing wages and benefits for three years—our members earn very modest wages and report that they are struggling to make ends meet. We can’t afford to fall further behind the skyrocketing cost of living,” says Janette Krajci, President of CUPE 4891.

CUPE 4891 is comprised of mental health and addictions case managers; residential and housing support workers; peer support workers; maintenance staff; cooks; and housekeepers who assist some of the most vulnerable populations in the City of Toronto. The collective agreement expired in October 2019.

“The services we provide our community are needed now more than ever,” adds Krajci. “We need the Ford government to treat mental health as thoughtfully as health care. It’s time for Premier Ford to take mental health, addictions and homelessness seriously by providing adequate funding and resources to vital social services like Regeneration Community Services.”

In the coming weeks, the union will commence a public campaign aimed at both the employer and provincial government, who, according to the union, must work arm-in-arm to address the serious funding shortfalls that short-change workers and services in the community mental health and addictions sector.

“Members are fiercely united and will do whatever it takes to safeguard the sustainability and future of Regeneration Community Services,” said Krajci. “We’re ready to strike, only as a last resort, to stand up to our employer and government for fair wages and good jobs.”