Museum workers set to strike Monday if no agreement reached

OTTAWA, Sept. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Workers at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the War Museum are set to strike on Monday morning, if the museums' management continues to deny their demands for workplace fairness and job security. The 420 workers are demanding the same protections that are in place for other federal workers in the Ottawa/Gatineau region.

"PSAC members at the Museum of Civilization and War Museum voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action last month," said Maria Fitzpatrick, the union's Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region. "They care deeply about their work, but are appalled that the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation refuses to grant them job security and will not recognize their years of service in a number of critical areas including career advancement," she said.

The majority of the floor staff at the museums - guides, program animators and hosts - work on temporary contracts. Most of them have been working from one contract to the other for long periods of time. Out of 55 guides at the museums, only six are permanent employees.

Employees who work in collections, transportation, archiving and preservation are also affected by the lack of job security. With no protections against contracting out, they remain in a precarious position and fear that they could lose their jobs in the midst of a global recession.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization and the War Museum had the highest attendance and brought in more revenue than any other museum or gallery in the National Capital Region last year. Meanwhile, workers' salaries at the two museums are lower than all of the other federal museum workers in the Ottawa/Gatineau - in some cases 40 per cent lower.

Negotiations with the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) began in April. Talks broke down in August, after the museums' management refused to grant any job security provisions whatsoever to the workers. The workers voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action on August 27. Sessions with a federal mediator were held on September 16 and 17, during which the museums' management refused to address the workers' fundamental concerns.

"Given the employer's refusal to address our critical issues, and given the fact that the vast majority of other federal employers in the region have agreed to protections in these areas, we have submitted a strike notice to CMCC," said Fitzpatrick. "We remain prepared to negotiate. But if management does not address our fundamental concerns, we will go on strike Monday morning."

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information: For further information: or to book interviews: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications - (613) 292-8363 (cell)

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