When Winnipeg residents who rely on refugee settlement services discovered that the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC) locked out staff, it highlighted the essential services members of CUPE Local 2348 provide.

From across province, CUPE Ontario’s 280,000 members are in complete solidarity with the members who’ve been locked out since April 27 and who have been picketing since.

We echo the Local’s concerns that after 13 months of bargaining, and drastic cuts to both pay and staff, the employer is still pushing unnecessary concessions. “It is almost unimaginable that during this brutal third wave, any employer would treat front-line workers this way,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “But having seen the compounded and differential impacts of COVID-19 on newcomers and racialized people, that this employer would lock out workers after already making massive cuts to the this critically important workforce, is unconscionable.”

“This is unnecessarily cruel on the part of this employer,” said Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer. As a representative rightly said ’The organization can remain financially viable with the arrangement that’s currently in place’ So not only is this wrong – it’s also unnecessary.”

The members want to get back to work because they know that, more than ever, the services they provide to refugees in our communities must not be uninterrupted.

CUPE Ontario knows that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. We are amplifying the demand for MIIC to get back to the bargaining table, and we’re collectively sending a strong and clear message of solidarity to the members of Local 2348.

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