Close to 50 Homes First
workers and their supporters braved the cold on Wednesday, February 20,
to bring their message to Toronto City Hall. A huge banner at the
entrance summed up their message for Toronto City Councillors: “Bad
management: you’re paying for it.”
Workers at Homes First
Society have been on strike since Monday, February 18. Their contract
expired in March, 2012.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida expressed his disbelief that Homes First Society has
yet to open their books. “I can’t believe there is still no transparency
about the finances of this public agency,” said Almeida. “It is time for
them to let everyone see what is really going on.”
“The City of Toronto
provides six million in funding to Homes First. We are here to ask our
City Councillors to help us get back to the table and negotiate a fair
deal,” said OPSEU negotiator, Kathleen Demareski.
MPP for Davenport, Jonah
Schein, stopped by to express his solidarity with the picket, and
emphasized that the workers at Homes First provide critical services for
Toronto’s homeless: people who are vulnerable and in urgent need of
decent housing options.
Homes First workers
finished their rally with a visit to the City Council session. They were
pleased that Councillors Mike Layton and Ana Bailao offered their
support. Pam McConnell and Adam Vaughan also showed interest in helping
to come to some resolution with the employer.
“Thanks to everyone who
came out to support these workers today. Our rally provoked the
attention and support these workers deserve. Now let’s get them back to
work,” said Demareski.