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March of Dimes workers 'at the breaking point'

Monday, April 22, 2013   by: Staff




CUPE asks for conciliation at Sault Ste. Marie March of Dimes following lockout threat
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – Local March of Dimes workers, members of Local 1880 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), have requested the assistance of a provincial conciliation officer to mediate negotiations, following threats of a lockout by management during recent contract talks.
“We are dedicated employees of the March of Dimes, and we’ve been trying to negotiate a fair collective agreement with our employer for years,” said Lori McGrath, CUPE 1880 spokesperson. “We are at the breaking point, and asking the people of Sault Ste. Marie to help us avoid a shutdown, after our employer threatened to lock us out if we didn’t accept major concessions in bargaining. We fear for the continuity and quality of our services, and that’s why we are reaching out to the community for support.”
CUPE filed for conciliation following threats by the employer to lock the workers out, if they did not accept major concessions and a multi-year wage freeze.
“Our services are so important to the people who rely on us and we worry about the impact a lockout would have on them,” said McGrath. “We reluctantly took a strike vote following our employer’s hard-line approach to bargaining, and we hope that will pressure management and the board of directors at March of Dimes to negotiate a settlement. The workers voted 96 percent in favour of a strike, if mediated contract talks fail to reach a fair settlement.
CUPE members at the Sault Ste. Marie March of Dimes offer independent living, attendant and support services for persons with physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, as well as high-risk seniors within the community.

They also offer employment and vocational rehabilitation services to assist people with disabilities to achieve greater independence by providing job training, education and employment.
“These workers have been very patient since their last contract expired in March, 2011,” said CUPE National Representative Laura Delhenty. “Management is demanding major concessions, including cuts to benefits, expanding hours of work without overtime, cuts to holidays and sick days, and attacks on our employment security – it shows a total lack of respect for our members and their work.”
“We have been more than reasonable in negotiations, and are not asking for much,” said McGrath. “What we are looking for is basic fairness and respect. We are committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, but for that to happen we need a willing partner across the table. "

CUPE is calling on residents to contact the March of Dimes President and CEO Andria Spindel, the chair of the board of directors, John Humphries, and the new director of human resources, Chris Harrison, to urge them to stop the lockout threats, and to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair settlement that will protect services.


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harry dick 4/22/2013 8:26:02 PM Report

One company gets concessions from their workers and all the companies will try it. The bottom line is taking money out of workers pockets and putting into the companies' and or owners pockets.
Many company owners and staff today, think only their jobs deserve proper pay and benefits and the people that work for them should work for peanuts and without little or no benefits.
They must believe that the employees should not be able to own a house or have coverage for medical expenses.
If this mentality keeps up , we will surely be a third world country with a rich and a poor, without a middle class which at this moment in time pays the bulk of the taxes collected by the governments. Who will pay the costs for the sick , the disabled, who cannot work and the rest of the population that needs help? I sure don't want to be around when the s_ _t hits the fan in 15 or so years.
Zarm27 4/22/2013 9:13:10 PM Report

MOD is supposed to be a not-for-profit organization, so really the usage of "employer" should be thrown out in my opinion. Funding is based on donations, personally if there was a decline in donations I'd want to decrease in the local overhead wherever I could as well.

Anyways, this town has enough unemployed that can't find jobs that a few of the services offered by MOD is rendered irrelevant due to the lack of job opportunities. If the funding isn't there to support the contract settlement, then don't push it.
harry dick 4/23/2013 2:30:06 PM Report

zarm 27- if that is the case , who will take care of these people, if the money runs out? Will you just let them die, because that is what is going to happen to them if the employees can no longer afford to work there. When it costs more to go to work than what the wage is , and there is another job that pays better, WHERE WOULD YOU GO??
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