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LONDON, Ont. – Huron Perth Children’s Aid Society workers voted 93 per cent to strike if a fair deal is not reached with management.  The 80 child protection and administrative support workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are facing heavy workloads, inferior wages and concession demands from their employer.

“Our members are united to fight for a fair contract,” said Laurel LeBeau, president of CUPE 1427.  “Our strong strike vote results show that we are determined to resolve issues such as workload and low wages, that affect working and living conditions.”

The child protection workers are on-call in the evenings and weekends because of staff shortages, adding to their stress level and reducing down time from their demanding jobs.  The administrative support workers are paid 10 per cent less than their counterparts in other CAS agencies from surrounding communities.  “This employer must look at the facts and address issues that affect workers and the services they provide to children and families in Perth and Huron counties,” stressed LeBeau.

Management is also demanding concessions including the elimination of paid vacation for workers returning from maternity leave. “It is unacceptable for management to penalize workers returning from maternity leave by denying them paid vacation,” said LeBeau.  “Management must come to conciliation prepared to drop these ridiculous demands and address the issues of workload and low wages – otherwise we will be facing a strike situation that will not benefit anyone.”

Conciliation talks are scheduled for Thursday, October 4. The workers’ last contract expired on March 31, 2007.

Laurel LeBeau, President CUPE 1427: 519-891-0057

Jennifer Kaufmann, CUPE National Representative: 519-433-1753

James Chai, CUPE Communications: 416-292-3999