“We definitely do not want to go on strike. But this strong strike vote shows that we’re not willing to let the employer reduce the quality of the services we provide by contracting work out." — MicheleThorn, OPSEU Local 454 Bargaining Chair
Ottawa (07 March 2018) — During a packed meeting on March 2, a strong majority of workers at the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society (CAS) voted to go on strike if their employer won’t take a stand against contracting out and precarious work.
Strike vote shows support for proposals
“Thousands of children depend every day on the professional and compassionate services provided by the staff at the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society,” says Michele Thorn, an Ottawa CAS employee and the chair of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) Local 454’s bargaining team.
“We definitely do not want to go on strike. But this strong strike vote shows that we’re not willing to let the employer reduce the quality of the services we provide by contracting work out," Thorn said.
Children's Aid Society workers face multiple challenges on the job
The roughly 400 members of OPSEU Local 454 have been without a contract since December 31, 2017. Negotiations for a new contract have broken down over a variety of issues, including wages, parental leave provisions, mileage rates, bilingual bonus, and most importantly, language to prevent contracting out.
The Local 454 bargaining team filed for conciliation and is now waiting for the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator and set conciliation dates.
“The fact that these workers have voted to go on strike shows just how strongly committed they are to protecting the services they provide,” says Chrisy Tremblay, Vice-Chair of OPSEU’s CAS sector. “Contracting out work done by our members at Ottawa Children’s Aid Society would hurt children, families, and the entire community. We’re not going to let that happen.”