OTTAWA, Dec. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Douglas Cardinal, the architect of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, is publicly pledging his support for 420 striking museum workers. As employees from the Museum of Civilization and War Museum spend their 80th day on the picket line in the midst of a blizzard, Cardinal is speaking out about his concerns for the vision and work of the museums. This includes the mishandling of the museum workers and the artifacts they are trained to protect.
"I am appalled to see how the museums' workers are being treated," said Cardinal. "Museum workers are guardians of Canadian heritage and the keepers of our national treasures. It's absolutely shameful that the museums' management is not in dialog seeking a mutually harmonious resolution for the sake of the museum itself. It shows no respect for the workers and the museums' original mandate."
A video shot by striking War Museum workers demonstrates that the museum's artifacts are being mishandled by cleaning staff, as the strike drags into its 12th week. As reported by CBC last night, videos posted on Youtube show footage of cleaning staff using brooms and their bare hands to remove dust from paintings in the lobby of the War Museum.
Workers from the two museums have been on strike since September 21st. Several attempts at a mediated settlement resulted in weeks-long delays and a final offer from the museum, which the workers rejected by a margin of 96 per cent. The workers voted in favour of sending all disputed issues to binding arbitration, but the museum has refused.
"It breaks our hearts to see such important monuments being treated so callously," said Daniel Poulin, a striking museum guide and President of PSAC Local 70396. "The cleaning staff is clearly being misdirected, while the workers with knowledge of proper preservation techniques are left out in the cold. The museums' artifacts - and workers - deserve so much better. We demand that the CMCC put the best interest of the museums first and resolve this dispute immediately."
For further information: For further information: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications, (613) 292-8363