Good Shepherd women's shelter staff ready to strike for living wage

    HAMILTON, ON, July 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Good Shepherd Women's Services
frontline workers are preparing for strike action, as early as July 14, over
the issue of substandard wages. The 50 women's service workers, represented by
the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are paid significantly less
than other social service workers in neighbouring municipalities.
    "Our members help women and children overcome financial and emotional
hardship," said Andrew Hunter, CUPE national representative. "Yet, here they
are, forced to fight with their employer to earn a living wage. Good Shepherd
should be leading by example and paying their women workers properly and
    "It is unfortunate that our clients will be the first to suffer if we end
up on strike for a living wage," said Paula Masys-Pollock, CUPE Local 5167
unit chair. The workers provide emergency shelter and residential services at
Martha House, Mary's Place and transitional residency at Somerville House, to
women and children who've experienced abuse, mental illness and homelessness.
Good Shepherd Outreach Services for Women & Children also provide counselling,
legal support and housing for women and children. Their last contract expired
on March 31, 2008. Mediation talks are scheduled for July 7 and 11.
    "We are urging the public and supporters of Good Shepherd to help with
our members' drive to earn a decent and fair wage," said Hunter. "After all,
the Good Shepherd Centres' mission statement proclaims to 'strive to enhance
the quality of life for all who seek assistance and support.' A living wage is
essential to live a quality life."

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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