TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - Workers from WoodGreen Community Services, one of Toronto's largest community-based agencies with over 500 workers and 32 office locations, are taking strike action after rejecting management's latest contract offer.
Members of Workers United Local 154, representing childcare staff, personal support workers, ESL instructors, housing workers, settlement workers, among others, have been attempting to negotiate a new collective agreement with WoodGreen since April 2014.
Key issues remain around staff wages and benefits for part-time staff.
"We care deeply about the residents and community we serve," says Allyson Cullen, a registered early childhood educator in a Woodgreen child care centre. "We want to continue to serve our clients with the highest quality of care they deserve, but we have reached a point where we feel actions are necessary so that we are treated and compensated with fairness and respect."
In 2013, eight of WoodGreen's executive management staff made over $1 million in salaries and taxable benefits. WoodGreen's President and CEO, Brian Smith, made over $204,000 in salaries and benefits alone.
"WoodGreen's refusal to extend benefits to some workers and by offering a wage increase that barely offsets the cost of living, along with their continued intimidation tactics during the bargaining and voting process, demonstrate that they do not value the work of our members," says Adrie Naylor, Workers United representative of the Local.
During yesterday's union vote, WoodGreen management asked workers to sign letters stating that they would return to work and not engage in any strike activities.
Workers United represents 10,000 workers in Canada and 150,000 workers across North America in industries including: garment and textile, food service, hospitality, social services, and manufacturing and distribution.
Strike Rally: Workers will convene for large strike rally today at 815 Danforth at 11:30AM
Image with caption: "Workers United Canada Council (CNW Group/Workers United Canada Council)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141009_C1741_PHOTO_EN_6523.jpg
SOURCE: Workers United Canada Council
For further information: Workers United Canada Council, Adrie Naylor: 416-951-8509; WoodGreen/Local 154 worker, Allyson Cullen: 647-444-2559; WoodGreen/Local 154 worker, Chris James: 705-991-2441