TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Employees are calling for Elizabeth Fry Toronto to return to the table after rejecting an offer that fails to address human rights and fairness. The employer has already begun shutting down services and moving out residential clients in anticipation of locking out their workers.
"It is reprehensible that Elizabeth Fry Toronto is threatening to lock out these workers. There is no excuse for refusing to make a decent offer," said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "They have the full support of their union as they stand up for the very values their workplace claims to enforce."
"We are calling for the employer to do the right thing and get back to the table," said Bargaining Team Chair, Jaime McGuire. "Along with many other workers in this sector we are bargaining agreements that seek to protect services while recognizing worker rights."
"Executive Director Michelle Coombs is putting her energy into shutting down services and moving out clients from the Agency's residence. We still have several days left before the legal strike/lockout deadline. She should be spending her time negotiating a fair contract with her employees," said McGuire.
Workers are asking for a contract that allows a union representative to be present when filing harassment and discrimination complaints.
"Union representation is a simple human rights issue," said McGuire. "It costs the employer nothing. Why would they possibly be opposed to this request?"
The second key issue is the current lack of wage fairness for counsellors.
"Counsellors working in a residential setting earn $1.70 per hour less when they do the same work as other counsellors. That is just not fair," said McGuire. "To correct this problem would only cost a total $12,000 a year."
Under the Ontario Labour Relations Act the parties are in a legal strike/lockout position as soon as October 22, 2012.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto employees have been without a contract since March 31, 2011, and have voted 93% in favour of a strike should that be necessary.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto workers provide transitional residence and community support for women who are, have been or are at risk of being in conflict with law.
For further information:
Jaime McGuire, Bargaining Team Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernard King, OPSEU Negotiator: 647-404-3304 (c)