Local News

Stop Workplace Sexual Violence

CUPE is committed to addressing and preventing sexual violence at work and recognizes that everyone has a right to work in a safe environment.

Sexual violence is any act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender expression or gender identity that is committed, attempted or threatened against a person without their consent. Sexual violence includes harassment, which is offensive behaviour that a reasonable person would consider unwelcome.

Sexual violence at work is a serious matter and has an impact on all members of the workplace and the union. The employer is responsible for addressing and responding to workplace sexual violence. The union plays a critical role in making sure the employer meets their responsibilities.

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CUPE fighting scare tactics at OMERS

In June, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) announced it would be voting on a number of changes that would hugely impact the 500,000 workers that contribute to it across Ontario in November. 


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Workplace violence growing in educator sector, study finds

A growing body of evidence suggests violence against teachers, educational assistants and others in the education sector is escalating.  


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Educators slam Ford’s ‘snitch line’ for teachers who defy sex ed rollback

The Ontario government is creating what critics are calling a “snitch line” for parents to report teachers who refuse to stop using the repealed 2015 sexual education curriculum.


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Have Your Back – Day of Action

CUPE Ontario is a proud partner of the We Have Your Back Coalition, which is asking you to share messages of support for children, youth, and educators on the first day back to school on September 4th to let them know that we #haveyourback in the face of Doug Ford’s assault on modern sex education.


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Civil liberties group mounts legal challenge to Ford’s sex-ed overhaul

A civil-liberties group is asking a court to stop Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government from throwing out a contentious sex-education curriculum, calling its planned replacement with a 20-year-old document an act of illegal discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is seeking a court order as early in the school year as possible to maintain the previous sex-ed curriculum until a new one can be developed through public consultation. Its filing in Superior Court on Thursday comes a day after the provincial government directed public-school boards to use a “revised, interim curriculum,” based on a 1998 document on sexual health, this school year. The curriculum it is replacing, implemented in 2015 by a Liberal government, includes sections on gender identity, sexual orientation and consent not found in the 1998 curriculum.


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CUPE will fight right-wing agenda across Canada

CUPE members face many challenges across the country.

With the election of Doug Ford’s Conservative right-wing government in Ontario, our members face even more challenges. Ford promises to cut six billion dollars from the provincial budget to eliminate “inefficiencies,” to scrap the 15-dollars-an-hour minimum wage and to eliminate the cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, among other things. The new Ontario premier is also considering privatizing the sale and distribution of alcohol and cannabis.


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Omers Proposed Changes

The OMERS Sponsors Board is proposing to make the following change that will hurt your pension:
1. Changes to early retirement provisions.
As it stands today, OMERS members can retire early if:

They have worked for 30 years; or
They reach their 90 factor where your age and years of service add up to 90
OMERS wants to require members to wait until you are no more than 5 years away from the normal age of retirement before you can apply for early retirement.

In other words, despite years of service and paying in to the pension plan, no CUPE member would be able to retire before the age of 60 without taking a reduced pension.


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Toronto Mourns, Violence Demands Action

Two lives have been lost, and many more are seriously injured, after a gunman shot into crowds of people enjoying a summer evening on Toronto’s Danforth Ave. This shocking event naturally brings sorrow and grieving to the entire city. The ripple effects of this kind of horror can be deep and lasting – for those directly effected and those part of the surrounding community.


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CUPE Ontario says back-to-work legislation gives York University chance to ‘wash hands’ of negotiation

CUPE Ontario’s president said Monday that back-to-work legislation set to be introduced by the Ford government gives York University a chance to “wash their hands” of responsibility in negotiation.


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Tory government cancels $100 million school repair fund

Ontario’s new Tory government has cancelled a $100-million fund earmarked for school repairs this year, a cut that comes as a result of Doug Ford’s campaign promise to scrap the province’s cap-and-trade system.

School boards were notified on July 3 that the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund would be eliminated and that only work contracted on or before that date would be covered.

The memo, obtained by The Canadian Press, advises school boards to stop spending the cash that was allocated in April immediately.


 Watch the video here…


CUPE BC members speak on Reconciliation

A new video released this week by CUPE BC explores the meaning of Reconciliation and what people can do collectively and as individuals to foster equality and make Canada a more just society for Indigenous peoples.

“Reconciliation: CUPE Members Speak” is a thought-provoking, five-minute video in which delegates to the union’s April convention address different aspects of Reconciliation and what the concept means to them. The testimonials, musically accompanied by a drumming composition from Culture Saves Lives, focus on the need to redress historical wrongs while taking concrete actions in the present.

“Each of us has a part to play in making Canada a more just society,” says CUPE BC President Paul Faoro.

“These testimonials contribute to the discussion on how to make that a reality. While the onus for Reconciliation is on the non-Indigenous population that continues to benefit the most from the land we all share, all our members—including those who are First Nations and Metis—have something valuable to contribute to this discussion.”

Since November 2015, when the Federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its 94 calls to action to redress the historic wrongs of the Indian Residential School System, a national dialogue has taken place about how to make Canada more inclusive and equitable for Indigenous peoples.


 Watch the video here…


CUPE rejects City’s offer by 92.5 percent

CORNWALL, Ontario – The striking Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) councils representing the City of Cornwall’s librarians, outdoor workers, inside workers and paramedics have rejected the City of Cornwall’s “final” offer.

The City made their offer on May 15, the day before the strike began.

The union’s negotiating team rejected that offer the same day and refused to take it to their members for a vote.


After two weeks of strike, the City demanded a Ministry of Labour supervised vote.

CUPE stated that the earliest date which the Ministry could supervise the vote would be June 15, and they further stated that they would hold an unsupervised vote on Monday, June 4 in order to return to the negotiating table more quickly.

Neither side would disclose to the media what the offer contained, but Councillor Andre Rivette told the CBC that he believed that sick leave was a main issue of the strike.


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CUPE Ontario Convention 2018

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May is Asian Heritage Month

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s and was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. Every year at this time, CUPE celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.

We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

Some of those struggles included resistance against the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax; the denial of the right to vote or to run for public office; the exploitation of Chinese railway workers; the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; and the Komagata Maru incident which led to challenges to the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation.” These struggles are historical, but anti-Asian racism is still present today.

For Asian Heritage Month, we encourage members to build on these past struggles and take action against discrimination and oppression today.

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Three CUPE members among the victims of Monday’s tragic attack

CUPE Ontario is devastated to learn that at least three CUPE members were among the victims of Monday’s horrific vehicular assault near Mel Lastman Square in Toronto.

CUPE 4400 member, Renuka Amarasinghe, was killed in the attack. Renuka was a single mother and a Nutrition Services worker who had worked at a number of Toronto District School Board schools since 2015 – most recently at Earl Haig Secondary School.  Renuka was also a well-loved member of the Scarborough community.

CUPE 3904 member and Chief Steward, Amir Kiumarsi, remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Sunnybrook Hospital. Amir is a chemistry instructor at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and has served as the Chief Steward for Unit 2 for the past four years.

CUPE 79 member Amaresh Tesfamariam, a registered practical nurse at Fudger House, was gravely injured and remains in critical condition at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Our hearts are broken for Renuka’s son, family and friends, and for the members of Local 4400 who have lost a comrade; and we join CUPE 3904 in sending all our best wishes and hopes for Amir’s full recovery.

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What’s in Ontario’s massive new labour law? A minimum wage hike, but much, much more

Bill 148’s sweeping reforms will be felt by Ontario businesses of all sizes.

The Ontario legislature passed a bill Wednesday including the much-ballyhooed minimum wage hike that has been hailed as both massive boon and possible job-killer for Canada’s most populous province.

But Bill 148 — the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act — contains much more than an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The legislation follows a lengthy review ordered up by Ontario’s Liberal government of provincial employment and labour law, and as such contains sweeping reforms that will be felt by businesses of all sizes.

“We know the province’s economy is doing very well, but not everybody is sharing in that prosperity,” Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said during Wednesday’s question period at Queen’s Park. “It needs to change. Bill 148 is that change.”

Fight for $15 minimum wage puts businesses, economists at odds
Small business tax cut never promised to offset minimum wage hike: Wynne
Ontario reforms labour laws, boosts minimum wage to $15 in 2019

So what’s actually in the bill? Here are a few of the changes it will ultimately make in Ontario:

• The wage hike – There is more in the legislation than just the headline increase to the province’s minimum wage, which consists of a hike to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, followed by a bump to $15 per hour in 2019. Outside of that, liquor servers, students under 18, hunting and fishing guides and people working from their homes for an employer would continue to be paid a special minimum wage rate, but that rate “will increase by the same percentage as the general minimum wage,” the province has said.

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CUPE applauds Campaign for Public Education’s calls for review and overhaul of funding formula

CUPE, representing 55,000 education workers in Ontario applauds the Campaign for Public Education’s (CPE) latest effort to secure a review and overhaul of the province’s outdated funding formula.

“CUPE has been calling for a review and overhaul of the funding formula for years,” said Terri Preston, who chairs CUPE’s education sector in Ontario. “The analysis provided by CPE adds to the growing body of evidence that this is urgent. It’s clear that the current funding formula is inadequate to meet the needs of students, communities, and education workers.”

A funding formula reliant mainly on head counts and based on the notion that schools are just a collection of classrooms will never meet the needs of students. Students and parents live this reality every day, and CUPE’s custodial and maintenance workers have long pointed this out.

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CPP must now be expanded to the Canadians who need it most

CUPE National President Mark Hancock sent a letter to the Prime Minister this week to impress upon the fact that while the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has been expanded, there remain significant flaws that must be remedied to allow a more secure and dignified retirement for all Canadians.

After significant pressure from the labour movement and other sectors, in 2016 Canada’s federal and provincial governments achieved a historic deal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) by introducing and passing Bill C-26. This was the first expansion of CPP benefits since the plan was established 50 years ago and CUPE applauds the provincial and federal governments who worked to make it a reality.

Unfortunately, C-26 contained significant and avoidable flaws that must be immediately remedied. As it currently stands, workers with child-raising responsibilities and persons with disabilities have been excluded from the expanded portion of the CPP. This will unfairly penalize women and persons with disabilities when it comes time to collect their new CPP benefits.

No government would think it fair to penalize persons with disabilities, or workers who took time away from the paid workforce to provide care for their young children. Staying true to the commitment of a more secure and dignified retirement for all Canadians is of the utmost importance. The time to fix this oversight is now.

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Liberal proposals to Canada Labour Code need a lot more work

The Liberal government is proposing changes to the Canada Labour Code, but they don’t go far enough.

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New WSIB policy leaves workers suffering from chronic mental stress out in the cold

Ontario’s Minister of Labour must step in now that the WSIB has made it clear that they are going to continue to deny workers full recognition of job related chronic mental stress and fair compensation related to job loss, said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn after learning today of the WSIB’s plan.

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Clarington Museum staff and board reach contract agreement

A possible strike has been averted and museum staff and the Clarington Museums and Archives have successfully negotiated their first contract.

“We are happy that we were eventually able to find some common ground and reach an agreement without disrupting the services that the museum provides to the community,” Roberta Stasyszyn, spokesperson for Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 74) museum workers said in a press release. “We wanted this first collective agreement to acknowledge the work that we do and address the precarious position that we were in as employees of the museum. We believe that this agreement offers us more stability and security than what we had before.”

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Gélinas presses health minister on ‘staggering’ violence faced by health-care workers

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is ignoring frontline health workers who are concerned about the level of violence they face in the workplace, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said this week.

In question period, the NDP’s health critic asked Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins why Ontario hospitals of ignoring the safety of workers.

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Clarington Museum staff and board reach contract agreement

A possible strike has been averted and museum staff and the Clarington Museums and Archives have successfully negotiated their first contract.

“We are happy that we were eventually able to find some common ground and reach an agreement without disrupting the services that the museum provides to the community,” Roberta Stasyszyn, spokesperson for Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 74) museum workers said in a press release. “We wanted this first collective agreement to acknowledge the work that we do and address the precarious position that we were in as employees of the museum. We believe that this agreement offers us more stability and security than what we had before.”

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Sharing our resources, all members benefit

In his Monday address to convention, National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury made it clear: the strength of our national union does not come from our national office in Ottawa but from every member doing their part through per capita payments made by their locals to National.

“CUPE is a powerful union because we share our resources. This solidarity pact allows us to give better support to our members wherever they are in Canada,” said Fleury. “This is the purpose of our national union. When we work together, and support each other, we have the people and the resources to win many fights.”

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Systemic barriers must be addressed in education reforms geared to reflect diversity

CUPE applauds the Ontario government’s recognition that our education system must address fundamental problems when it comes to meeting the needs of students from diverse backgrounds, but cautions real improvements won’t happen without dealing with systemic barriers.

“We know that students do better when the staff around them are more reflective of the communities they come from. We don’t need to wait for surveys to be completed to begin to address the systemic barriers that prevent this from happening,” says CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn.

“From custodians to office staff, education assistants to early childhood educators, the adults working in the school create the learning environment that helps determine how well kids thrive. We need to do more to make sure those workers are actually representative of a school’s student diversity,” Hahn says.

CUPE has been developing a tool for school boards to collaborate with local unions to identify and begin to address barriers that exist in recruitment, promotion and training opportunities.

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Toronto Zoo facing strike call from CUPE Union 1600

CUPE Union 1600 has given the protest call over job security and wage increases while the management called their demands as unreasonable.

The Toronto Zoo is a not-for-profit charitable organization. The management said the union’s demands were simply unaffordable and do not reflect the financial realities facing the Zoo or other settlements reached within the City of Toronto.

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Canadian Hearing Society strike over as CUPE members in Peterborough and across Ontario ratify deal

Canadian Hearing Society workers will be back on the job Monday after a tentative deal reached earlier in the week was ratified.

The members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2073, including workers in Peterborough, have been on strike since March 6.

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Toronto Zoo staff walk off the job in contract dispute

More than 400 employees at the Toronto Zoo have walked off the job to back their contract demands and the facility will be closed to the public as of Thursday morning.

CUPE Local 1600 said the walkout began at midnight at Canada’s largest zoo after the two sides failed to come to terms on the key issue of job security.

“We are incredibly disappointed to have to take strike action, but the Toronto Zoo’s refusal to move on job security left us with no alternative,” local president Christine McKenzie said in a statement.

McKenzie said the union presented a “comprehensive offer” to the employer hours before the deadline.

But a spokeswoman for the zoo said it has been “more than fair and reasonable.”

Jennifer Tracey said in a statement that the union “has not provided any flexibility” and the zoo’s “fair and reasonable” proposals include a wage increase and “satisfactorily address the issues of job security.”

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Bargaining to resume today between CUPE 1600 and Toronto Zoo

Following a marathon day of bargaining in which some progress was made, negotiators for Local 1600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1600) will return to the table this morning in an effort to conclude negotiations with the Toronto Zoo before a midnight lockout or strike deadline.

“While we have been able to resolve some issues with the Zoo, we haven’t made enough progress and I am concerned about our ability to conclude negotiations before the deadline,” said Christine McKenzie, President of CUPE 1600.

Although negotiators have made progress on some issues, there has been no movement on several issues the union considers critical, including changes proposed by the Zoo that would greatly diminish workers’ employment security and give the Zoo more power to contract out work.

“Any efforts by the Zoo to weaken workers’ job security and contracting out language are non-starters,” warned McKenzie.

“Our members were very clear when they voted unanimously to give our bargaining committee a strike mandate if they felt it was necessary-weakening their job security and contracting out language is bad for our community, bad for the Zoo and most importantly it will be bad for the animals,” she added.

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Tentative settlement between CUPE, Canadian Hearing Society

CUPE Local 2073 has reached a “tentative settlement” with the Canadian Hearing Society, union officials said in a press release today.

CUPE workers have been on the picket lines since March 6. They represent 227 workers across Ontario, including interpreters, speech language pathologists, counsellors, literacy instructors and audiologists.

Details of the settlement will not be released until the membership has had a chance to review it, the release said. The earliest workers could be back on the job is May 15.

In a statement from CUPE, Stacey Connor, president of Local 2073 said she was pleased with the settlement.

“We have a deal that we can recommend to our members,” she said.

“It should not have taken nine weeks, but here we are.”

CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn attends Peterborough rally in two-month Canadian Hearing Society strike

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario president Fred Hahn addressed the crowd as an interpreter relays his message in sign language during a noon hour rally attended by representatives of several unions at the Canadian Hearing Society on Reid St. on Monday.

CUPE Local 2073 members have been on strike against the agency for two months, part of an Ontario-wide strike by the agency’s unionized workers.

The two sides have been at the bargaining table, but unable to reach a deal.

No new talks have been scheduled.

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CUPE Local 2049 members are back at work this morning for the first time in four months after the Children’s Aid Society of Nipissing and Parry Sound agreed to binding arbitration. The labour dispute really ended late on Friday when the agreed upon return-to-work protocol was signed by CAS executive director Gisele Hebert. CUPE, provincial mediators, and the provincial government were all in agreement about the need to resolve outstanding issues and reach a new collective agreement through binding arbitration.

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CUPE files unfair practice complaint

BELLEVILLE – Lawyers for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2073, representing 227 striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), have filed an unfair labour practice complaint at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).
The workers, including those at the Belleville office, have been on strike since March 6.

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Canadian Hearing Society ramps up pay for top executives as strike continues

A taxpayer-funded charity that provides services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community across Ontario has ramped up its pay for top executives while cutting front-line staff, research by CBC News reveals.

The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) receives more than $20 million annually from the provincial government for such services as sign-language interpretation in hospitals, counselling and audiology. The agency’s unionized workers, many of whom are themselves deaf, are on picket lines across the province in a strike that began in early March.

The salary of the agency’s president and CEO shot up 75 per cent in just three years, according to data from Ontario’s Sunshine List.

The salary of its vice president of finance and corporate services appeared on previous versions of the Sunshine List but was not disclosed for 2016. That’s because he switched to billing the agency as a consultant for his work. CBC News has learned that his consulting rate amounts to a 26 per cent pay hike from three years earlier.

Meanwhile, unionized staff at the Canadian Hearing Society haven’t had a pay increase since their contract expired four years ago. The agency has cut its total number of full-time staff by 28 per cent in three years, according to information filed with the federal charities directorate.

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CUPE calls for expansive disability rights legislation

CUPE is calling on the federal government to put in place proactive and comprehensive regulation for disability rights – and the resources to make those rights a reality.

The federal government is currently consulting on accessibility legislation.

CUPE has participated in public forums in several cities as well as a meeting of Canadian Labour Congress affiliates with the federal government’s Office for Disability Issues.

On February 24, we put forward recommendations in a submission to Minister Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities. Minister Qualtrough will report on findings of the consultations this spring and draft legislation for review by Parliament by spring of next year.

CUPE is a leader on disability rights at work, and we’ve fought alongside disability activists to challenge barriers beyond the workplace. From that experience, we offer recommendations on quality public services, employment equity, disability benefits and accessibility in the airlines and communications sectors.

You’re invited to read CUPE’s submission, below. If you have the opportunity, you’re encouraged to raise these issues with your own Member of Parliament.


CUPE Local 2049 has agreed to entertain a request from the Ministry of Labour to consider binding arbitration as a way to settle the current labour dispute with the Children’s Aid Society. A release from CUPE says 2049 President Debbie Hill was contacted by a ministry representative on Wednesday.

Interim President of the Children’s Aid Society Board John Stopper mentioned in an interview with the Moose earlier this week that binding arbitration was one option the board was looking at moving forward.

So the process has fair chance at success, both parties have agreed to make no more public statements about the current negotiations and CUPE will no longer be issuing any communications about the lockout or progress toward a resolution until further notice.

Mounting fears about the state of child protection services prompts union’s call for ministry takeover of Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS

NORTH BAY and PARRY SOUND, ON – A growing concern that the lockout at Nipissing and Parry Sound children’s aid – now at 100 days and counting – is jeopardizing the safety and well-being of the region’s vulnerable children and youth has triggered a demand from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for a ministry takeover of the society.

The call from the union’s leaders comes after negotiations with Nipissing and Parry children’s aid society (CAS) broke down once again yesterday (Thursday, March 30).

“This situation has gone beyond the frustration and dissatisfaction of the workers on the picket line,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “The society’s inability or unwillingness to reach a deal with its workers and end the lockout is putting children and young people at risk.”

Hahn described locked-out workers’ daily encounters on the picket line with CAS clients: “We know from first-hand accounts that services are failing; the lockout has robbed families, young mothers-to-be, and foster parents, among others, of the support they need. Children and youth are in danger of falling through the cracks of a system that’s been deprived for over three months of the professionals who make it work.

“For that reason, we are calling on the Minister of Children and Youth Services to dissolve the board of Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS immediately and launch a ministry takeover of the society without delay.”

Hahn went on to stipulate that, once the ministry has taken control of the CAS, its next order of business must be to return locked-out workers to their jobs and conclude bargaining for a new collective agreement.

“Only that way can northern communities once again have the child protection services that they deserve,” concluded Hahn.

CUPE 2512 Supports the Rally for CUPE 2049 on March 31

On December 23, children’s aid workers were locked out of their jobs by their employer, Nipissing and Parry Sound Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The lockout took place days after mediation talks broke off; Nipissing and Parry Sound chose not to present a contract offer different from the one that workers had rejected by a 96% margin in a supervised vote the week before.

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