The Communist Party of Canada-Ontario extends its full support to the members of Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who have been on strike since March 6 against the Canadian Hearing Society at 24 offices around the province. The 227 CUPE members work at the CHS as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/ interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants and information technology specialists. The strike has had a huge impact on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community due to the suspension of much-needed services.
The CUPE workers have been without a contract for 4 years. The strike action was taken after management demanded that the union give up its sick day provisions in their collective agreement. Management offered to buy back the sick days that workers had in their bank and negotiate a short-term disability program. The union stands firm on their demand for a fair and equitable sick plan and a fair wage increase; their work is very stressful and often leads to repetitive strain injuries.