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SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Local March of Dimes workers, members of Local 1880 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), could soon be locked out after the Ontario March of Dimes applied for a Ministry of Labour ‘No-Board’ report, triggering a countdown to a legal strike or lockout deadline of July 20, warned the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“The March of Dimes has shown a total lack of respect for our members, for their work, and for the consumers they help in the community,” said Carrie Withers, CUPE National Representative. “Very early on in the bargaining process, management demanded a long list of concessions, threatened to lock out the workers if they did not accept contract roll-backs and multi-year wage freezes, and now they have triggered a countdown that will allow them to lock out the workers and shut down services any time after July 20.”
CUPE represents over 60 workers at the March of Dimes in Sault Ste. Marie, who offer independent living, attendant and support services for persons with physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, as well as high-risk seniors within the community. They also offer employment and vocational rehabilitation services to assist people with disabilities to achieve greater independence by providing job training, education and employment.
“We hope the March of Dimes is not deliberately setting the stage for a lockout to deal with financial difficulties, especially after they gave senior management hefty pay increases last year,” said Withers. “All our members are looking for is an agreement that is fair without rolling back their working conditions and one that respects their work and allows them to continue to provide these important services in the community.”
“CUPE has set aside July 19th for mediation talks, to try and reach a settlement, but so far we have no indication from the March of Dimes that they will participate,” said Withers. “The people who rely on our services would be devastated if March of Dimes proceeds to lock out its own workers. That’s why we are calling on the community to contact their MPP and other politicians, to alert them to the urgency of the situation, since many of the services our members provide are government-mandated health, social and community support services, and a lockout will hurt some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
For more information, please contact:
Carrie Withers, CUPE National Representative, 705-949-6221, 705-987-1650
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999