Good Shepherd management denies living wage for women's shelter staff - lockout or strike imminent

    HAMILTON, ON, July 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Mediation talks between the Good
Shepherd Women's Services and their frontline staff broke off yesterday after
management refused to address the issue of substandard wages. The 50 women's
service workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE),
are seeking a living wage, as they are paid 25 to 30 per cent less than other
social service workers in surrounding municipalities.
    "Things are not looking good for our members and the women and children
they support every day," said Andrew Hunter, CUPE 5167 national
representative. "Talks broke off because management is not willing to deal
with the reality of the situation - Good Shepherd women workers are grossly
    A lockout or potential strike on July 14, at 12:01 am, would affect
emergency shelter and residential services at Martha House, Mary's Place and
transitional residency at Somerville House. Good Shepherd Outreach Services
for Women and Children located at First Place will also be affected by a
strike or lockout.
    "Martha House and Mary's Place have already stopped taking in new
intakes," said Hunter. "This tells us that the employer is either planning to
lock our members out or they are not planning to move from their current
position and pay their workers a decent living wage. In both cases, it is the
clients and the workers who will suffer. Who will help the women and children
seeking help from the Good Shepherd, if our members are locked out or are on
    "The leadership at Good Shepherd must lead and direct management to do
what it takes to prevent a strike that will hurt vulnerable women and children
who rely on the Good Shepherd," continued Hunter. "All we are asking for is a
decent and fair wage for women workers who work hard to help other women and
children overcome emotional and financial difficulties."

For further information:

For further information: Andrew Hunter, CUPE National Rep.,  (905)
575-5411, (905) 531-7599 cell; James Chai, CUPE Communications, (416)

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