NORTH BAY, ON – When North Bay women are in crisis and experiencing domestic violence, they find safety at Nipissing Transition House (NTH). But today, in an open letter delivered to the Board of Directors, workers at NTH made clear that they themselves face a crisis and that their services are not meeting the needs of women and families.

Frontline relief workers at NTH, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4720.03, operate three 24-hour phone lines and a 20-bed emergency shelter. They offer counselling, connect women with community supports, help them find work and navigate child care, and more. They do whatever it takes to aid women to live free from violence.

“Management shut down our outreach program during COVID but they’re not the ones who have to look these women in the eyes. We’re still doing all of this work because we know what it takes to help women take back control of their lives,” said Bryanne St. Amour, an emergency shelter worker and chair of the bargaining unit. “That means that we’re stretching ourselves even thinner just to put a band-aid on a crisis. We’re letting these women down while working ourselves into the ground.”

Members of CUPE 4720.03 have been bargaining for nearly a year with very little to show for it. While morale has plummeted and the cost of everything from gas to groceries has skyrocketed, management is refusing to offer a single penny more in wages – meaning that workers would have less money in their pockets due to inflation. Insultingly, management dangled the possibility of a signing bonus if workers accepted the deal that would push them further into poverty.

“When I started here, people had this job for 20 years or more. They were proud of the work and able to make a life doing it. We’re still proud, but we can’t support ourselves or our families,” said St. Amour. “Nearly all of us have second jobs. Some of us use the same food banks we send clients to. We’re picking up extra shifts just to survive. We can’t go on like this.”

That was the message delivered to the Board of Directors today in the form of a petition signed by every worker at NTH. The petition called on the Board to intervene and ensure an investment in workers and services.

“We’re being bullied and gaslit by management. We’re being told our services aren’t valuable. But I am so proud of my coworkers for taking a stand,” said St. Amour. “We are not going to accept less than we’re worth. And we’re not going to allow these critical supports for women to be hollowed out.”

The bargaining team for CUPE 4720.03 is prepared to return to the table as soon as possible and hopes to receive a response from the Board, including a commitment to achieving a fair deal.


For more information, contact:

Jesse Mintz, CUPE Communications Representative

416 704 9642

[email protected]