Put quality first, workers say as strike looms at Kids & Company locations in Ottawa and Toronto

    TORONTO, Nov. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Hundreds of families could see their
workplace child care shut down at Kids and Company locations in Toronto and
Ottawa at 12:01 a.m., Thursday, November 29.
    About 120 early childhood educators and assistants, members of CUPE 4823,
have been trying for almost a year to negotiate a first contract with the
company, one of the country's largest private, for-profit child care
    "We hope we can reach a settlement without having to take job action,"
said CUPE National Representative Jim Morrison. "However, these workers are
also determined to stand up for what is right - a fair first contract that
provides them with a competitive wage, pension and compensation when they are
injured on the job."
    Without those conditions, he said, the union believes that the ability of
child care workers to provide quality care is compromised by high staff
turnover, violations of regulated staff-to-child ratios and other problems
related to health and safety.
    "Kids and Company has been expanding its business at a rapid pace,"
Morrison said. "We're asking them to put quality first. If they want to
expand, they should do it on a solid foundation of providing high quality
child care."
    While Kids and Company recently levied increases ranging from 3% to 5% on
the fees it charges corporate clients and families, staff saw a wage increase
of only 1% or roughly 11 cents an hour, he said.
    The parties are scheduled to return to mediation on November 26 and 27.

For further information:

For further information: Jim Morrison, CUPE National Representative,
(905) 243-1483; Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, (416) 616-6142

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