Oxford County Public Health workers prepare for strike to fight age discrimination

    WOODSTOCK, ON, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Oxford County Public Health
workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), could
be on strike early next month over the employer's demands to cut off benefits
for workers over the age of 65.
    "All workers should be treated equally and with respect," said Heather
Grassick, national representative for CUPE 1146. "It is unacceptable to
discriminate against workers, who want to continue working and promoting
public health, by suddenly cutting off their health benefits, just because
they turn 65."
    Union representatives requested a 'no-board' report from the provincial
mediator last night, after conciliation talks broke off, triggering a
countdown to a lockout or legal strike deadline of 12:01 am, March 6. The
workers voted 100 per cent in favour of a strike if a fair settlement cannot
be reached with their employer.
    CUPE 1146 members provide health inspection, health promotion, and
administrative services in Oxford County. The workers' last contract expired
on December 31, 2006. In addition to age discrimination targeting workers over
65, wage parity for some of the 31 public health workers, remains an
outstanding issue.
    "Management must come back to mediation without their age discrimination
agenda," said Grassick. "Otherwise we will have no choice but to take strike
action to stop the County from discriminating against their own workers."

For further information:

For further information: Heather Grassick, CUPE National Representative,
(519) 743-7781; James Chai, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999

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