Workers welcome back absent museum CEO

OTTAWA/GATINEAU, Sept. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Striking workers at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and War Museum welcome CEO Victor Rabinovitch back to town today, after he left the country for a lengthy trip to Japan, during the most crucial part of their negotiations with the museums' management.

Hundreds of people sent emails to Dr. Rabinovitch over the last couple of weeks, urging him to negotiate a fair contract with museum workers. They all received an automated "out of office" message in return.

Represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the 420 workers are demanding the same protections that are in place for other museum workers in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. The Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) continues to deny their demands for workplace fairness and protections against contracting out.

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.

Dr. Rabinovitch makes 20 per cent more than any other federal museum CEO in the region ($236,200 a year + a maximum performance award of $61,400). 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.

"In Dr. Rabinovitch's absence, the CMCC has been peddling distortions about the 'final offer' that they presented to the negotiating team on Friday morning," said Maria Fitzpatrick, PSAC Vice-President for the National Capital Region. "They are claiming that they made a wage offer of 15%, which just isn't true. Their wage offer is closer to 7% over four years and doesn't even come close to closing the wage gap with other museums in the region," she said.

"All we are seeking is fair treatment that is equivalent to the way that other museum workers are treated in Ottawa and Gatineau," said Melissa Ferland, a professional actor who works at the Museum of Civilization. "We love our jobs and we are proud to work at the museums. All we want is a fair contract, so we can get back to our jobs and continue to support our families."

Negotiations with the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) began in April and talks broke down in August. The workers voted 92 per cent in favour of strike action on August 27. Sessions with a federal mediator were held on September 16, 17 and 18, during which the museums' management demanded serious concessions and refused to address the workers' fundamental concerns, especially in regard to salary and contracting out.


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

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