TORONTO, Oct. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - The union representing 45 workers at Interim Place, a community agency that provides shelter and support to women and children, says that hardball tactics by the employer are preventing the union from reaching a new collective agreement for the members.
Sue Dafoe, OPSEU negotiator for Local 518 at Interim Place, says that there is a fair and reasonable deal on the table, but the employer is determined to cut benefits and provide no monetary increases to staff whose current contract expired last March.
"Despite the employer's protests that there is lack of funding, they have actually hired additional management staff and now retained a lawyer to conduct negotiations," Dafoe said. "These are clearly unnecessary expenses that could be put to better use."
Dafoe went on to say that the employer is also engaging in a workplace discipline campaign that she believes is meant to intimidate workers during negotiations. "Many long-serving staff have had to take stress leave due to the conditions the employer has created in the workplace. It has placed a definite chill on the employees that is not only affecting them but the clients they serve."
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said that this employer needs to remember the vision they have for the clients who depend on the services, and apply that to their dedicated staff.
"Part of Interim Place's goals are to provide advocacy for women and children, and they pride themselves on being anti-oppressive," Thomas said. "They must also apply that same vision to the staff who work there, the ones who are on the front lines helping the women and children who are the most vulnerable."
On May 28, workers at Interim Place gave a 100 per cent strike mandate to support their bargaining team. Talks continue with an Ontario Labour Relations Board conciliator, with the next date scheduled November 12.
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Sue Dafoe, OPSEU Negotiator, 416-523-6260; Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 1-800-268-7376