TORONTO, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Striking Homes First workers and their
supporters will rally outside Toronto City Hall on Feb. 20 after 70
staff members of the housing agency walked off the job Monday. Homes
First provides support services for the homeless to find permanent
The Wednesday rally is scheduled for noon to 4:00 p.m.
"Morale is great on the picket line even if the weather isn't," said
Kathleen Demareski, a negotiator for the workers who are represented by
Local 540 of the Ontario Public Services Employees Union. "We do not
want to be on strike but regrettably management has chosen not to
bargain with us."
The union met with the employer at the Ontario Labour Relations Board on
Feb. 14 to discuss the bad faith bargaining complaint it had filed. The
employer refused further negotiations to avoid a work stoppage.
Homes First receives more than $6 million in funding from the City of
Toronto. The union is calling on city council to demand that Homes
First open its books to public scrutiny - which it refuses to do -- and
to urge management to get back to the bargaining table.
"The Homes First Society has a horrible track record of bad fiscal
management which is why we believe they have no interest in bargaining
in good faith," said Demareski. "That's why we need a strong show of
support from city council. After all, it's public money we're talking
Issues in the dispute include wages, benefits and job security.
Picket lines have been organized outside the main office of Homes First
at 90 Shuter Street. Lines will be set up at seven other Homes First
locations in the city later this week.
For further information:
Tel: 416-443-8888 ext 2484