Barrie – Workers in Ontario Public Service Eployees Union Local 355 at Morton House in Barrie gave their bargaining team a 100 per cent strike mandate as the employer continues to refuse the workers’ modest requests.
“It’s about the need for fair wages,” said bargaining team chair Steve Young. “We haven’t seen any significant wage increases since about 2002. Over that time, the cost of living certainly hasn’t stayed the same. Both our full-time and part-time staff are struggling to make ends meet.”
The employer is refusing any increase for full-time staff, and the meagre increase proposed for part-time workers will do little to address the problem of high turnover in those positions. Workers at Morton House support the rehabilitation of youth in trouble with the law.
“Wages are so low that our employer can’t even hold on to part-timers,” said Young. “And almost all of us – full-timers included – have second and third jobs just to get by.” Full-timers at Morton House are paid up to $6 less an hour –part-timers up to $8 – than what workers make in similar organizations across the province.
While refusing to raise wages to a decent level, management continues to find the money for expensive renovations, including a $600 faucet and new leather couches.
“It’s a bit rich for an employer to cry poor while throwing money at over-the-top renovations,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Frankly, it’s unacceptable. No full-time worker should require a second job to survive.”
Morton House employs 16 workers, nine full-time, and seven part-time. The home provides open custody support for male young persons, ages 12-17.
For more information: Haylie Lufman, OPSEU Local 355 bargaining team member, 705-238-1785