March of Dimes workers locked out

OAKVILLE, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Management at the Ontario March of Dimes in Oakville today locked out more than 30 members of OPSEU Local 262 who provide care for those with physical disabilities so that they may live independently.

"This is clearly a case of putting their own financial priorities ahead of the vulnerable people we care for," said Local 262 bargaining member Carolyn LaFee. "The Ontario March of Dimes is more focused on building on its asset base than it is on negotiating a fair and just contract for its workers, most of whom are women working part-time."

Despite the fact that the provincial March of Dimes reported a $900,000 surplus since 2010, the agency's CEO Andrea Spindel locked out the workers at 7:00 a.m. today and replaced them with outside, temporary workers. Management had demanded the workers take wage concessions over three years, reductions to their benefit and vacation allowances, and elimination of the one day per year compassionate leave.

Spindel's annual salary alone stands at $270,000 - an amount exceeding that which is earned by the premier of Ontario. As CEO she presides over an asset base of close to $30 million. Although classified as a 'not-for-profit' long-term care charity, the Ontario March of Dimes earns private income from subsidiaries it owns directly or indirectly and by its appeal to the public for charitable donations.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, who is scheduled to visit members of Local 262 on the picket line on Tuesday afternoon, said he is shocked by the callousness demonstrated by management and called on management to return to the bargaining table.

"This is a so-called not-for-profit charity that has accumulated close to a million dollars in profit the past two years but somehow it can't find the money to give its workers a fair wage increase," said Thomas. "I urge anyone who is thinking about donating to the March of Dimes this holiday season to think again. It is an organization that puts its own interests before the needs of its clients and employees."


For further information:

Laurie Miller
OPSEU Campaigns Officer


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