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Toronto – Workers at Yorktown Shelter, serving women and children fleeing domestic abuse, say management is giving hints that their doors may not be open for much longer.

The 30 members of CUPE Local 3878 say they’ve been told not to accept any new clients.

Shelter workers say management has told them the number of women and children staying in the shelter is being cut back in preparation for a possible strike. They have also been informed that the shelter is running an $80,000 deficit. One supervisor has received a layoff notice and unofficial notice has been given to other workers that their hours will be cut.

Strike preparations are premature since the local is still engaged in negotiations with Yorktown management and have not taken a strike vote, said CUPE National Representative Carmen Henry.

“The refusal to take new clients is either an attempt to intimidate the workers during negotiations or a confirmation of rumours that the shelter is going to close,” Henry said. “In either case, management is showing disrespect to employees and doing a great disservice to women and children in Toronto who are seeking shelter from abuse.”

The workers, who are negotiating their second collective agreement, were on strike for three months to achieve a first contract. In this round, management is demanding a cut in benefits, requiring front-line workers to carry any premium increases, and have eliminated one-half of the nine full-time positions. A full-time employee earns less than $38,000 per year and has no pension. All other workers are part-time.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 180,000 workers in Ontario, most of whom work for municipalities, hospitals, school boards, universities and social service agencies.


For information, contact:

Carmen Henry, CUPE National Representative, 416-292-3999

Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999 or 416-616-6142