Workers call for fairness as Elizabeth Fry Toronto starts to shut down
October 17, 2012
Employees are calling for Elizabeth Fry Toronto to return
to the table after rejecting an offer that fails to address human rights and
fairness. The employer has already begun shutting down services and moving
out residential clients in anticipation of locking out their workers.
“It is reprehensible that Elizabeth Fry Toronto is
threatening to lock out these workers. There is no excuse for refusing to
make a decent offer,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “They
have the full support of their union as they stand up for the very values
their workplace claims to enforce.”
“We are calling for the employer to do the right thing
and get back to the table,” said Bargaining Team Chair, Jaime McGuire.
“Along with many other workers in this sector we are bargaining agreements
that seek to protect services while recognizing worker rights.”
“Executive Director Michelle Coombs is putting her energy
into shutting down services and moving out clients from the Agency’s
residence. We still have several days left before the legal strike/lockout
deadline. She should be spending her time negotiating a fair contract with
her employees,” said McGuire.
Workers are asking for a contract that allows a union
representative to be present when filing harassment and discrimination
“Union representation is a simple human rights issue,” said
McGuire. “It costs the employer nothing. Why would they possibly be opposed
to this request?”
The second key issue is the current lack of wage fairness for
“Counsellors working in a residential setting earn $1.70 per
hour less when they do the same work as other counsellors. That is just not
fair,” said McGuire. “To correct this problem would only cost a total
$12,000 a year.”
Under the Ontario Labour Relations Act the parties are in
a legal strike/lockout position as soon as October 22, 2012.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto employees have been without a
contract since March 31, 2011, and have voted 93% in favour of a strike
should that be necessary.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto workers provide transitional
residence and community support for women who are, have been or are at risk
of being in conflict with law.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto