Unionized workers at the Canadian Hearing Society have been out on the picket line now for just over a month.

It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: The 227 workers – interpreters, speech-language pathologists, counsellors, literacy instructors and audiologists who provide services to clients who are deaf or hard-of-hearing – have been without a contract for four years, and the employer is trying to whittle down their benefits to save money.

In fact, the key point of disagreement is sick leave. The union wants sick-leave provisions to remain as is, arguing that the work is stressful and demanding, and workers have high rates of burnout and repetitive strain injury (sign-language interpreting for hours a day is punishing on the body).

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