BELLEVILLE, ON – Belleville workers on strike for a deal that allows them to provide high-quality, reliable and accessible services for clients of the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) will be joined on the picket line Monday, April 3, at 12 noon by community supporters, labour allies and striking colleagues from CHS Kingston.  Members of the deaf community will join the line around 12:30 p.m. and there will be interpreters on hand to help answer questions.

Talks between the union that represents CHS workers and the society broke off on Saturday night after four days of bargaining.

Workers from CHS offices across the province have now been on strike for four weeks. Since March 6, workers in Belleville have picketed the Bayview Mall in the south-east end of the city. The local CHS office is located inside Bayview Mall.


CHS’s office in Belleville employs three workers and in Kingston, five.


After four years without a collective agreement, CHS workers are determined to preserve the things that allow them to perform their stressful and demanding jobs at levels that best serve the members of Belleville’s deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing communities.


In particular, workers’ sick leave and health plan, negotiated over a period of 40 years, are under attack. CHS wants to gut the sick leave provisions and health benefits originally intended to “break barriers” and help the predominantly female workforce deal with work that is mentally, emotionally and physically challenging.


On the strike’s one-month anniversary, the president of Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Stacey Connor, will visit the picket line outside CHS headquarters in Toronto. Connor said in a separate statement:


“Despite every effort to secure a fair contract, we are still faced with an employer that wants to strip us of basic collective agreement rights and benefits. The CHS would rather keep people out on a picket line – would rather rob the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community of the services it relies on – than come to the table prepared to sign a decent contract. Well, I’ll be there to tell my members in Toronto, we are not there to give away their rights. And to our many, many friends in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, I want to say thank you for your continued support. We are fighting for the services you need and value, too.”


CUPE 2073 represents 227 counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, information technology specialists and other staff at 24 Canadian Hearing Society offices across Ontario.


After four weeks on the picket line, members of CUPE 2073 are reaching out to their MPs and MPPs to ask them to apply pressure on the employer to work harder at the table to reach a fair deal.


Who: workers from the Canadian Hearing Society in Belleville and Kingston, members of the deaf community, community supporters, and labour allies, including members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)


What: picket line rally for striking employees of the Canadian Hearing Society


When: Monday, April 3, 2017, 12 noon to 2 pm.


Where: Bayview Mall, 470 Dundas Street East, Belleville, at the entrances to the mall


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For more information, please contact:


Christine Lang, CUPE National Representative, 705-927-8599

Mary Unan, CUPE Communications, 647-390-9839