The Communist Party of Canada-Ontario extends its full support to the members of Local 2049 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who have been locked out by Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound since last December. Management chose not to present a contract offer different from the one that workers had rejected by a 96% margin in a supervised vote the week before, instead they locked the local out.
The CUPE workers, predominantly women, have been adamant that management is undermining the child protective services their members provide by cutting union jobs or ‘leaving them vacant’. Management is also trying to decimate the local’s sick leave provisions, even though they don’t replace workers who call in sick.
This lockout is a result of provincial cuts to social service agencies, and management’s unwillingness to respect the front-line workers who provide the much-needed services for these northern residents. Coincidentally, the CAS executive director appeared on the provincial Sunshine list – he made more than $150,000 last year. CUPE has demanded that the province disband the current board and take over the management of the CAS; to date the province has refused. Management is using scabs to provide some services – in some cases with staff that are unqualified.
The Labour Board has recently asked the local to consider binding arbitration in order to get their members back to work.
The Communist Party demands:
- Intervention by the Wynne government, to take over CAS Board, end the lockout and agree to a fair contract that includes decent wages and sick benefits
- Full-funding for provincial social services;
- Anti-scab legislation and a provincial Labour Bill of Rights that guarantees the right to organize, bargain collectively, and strike;
- Progressive tax reform, and the reversal of two decades of corporate tax cuts that currently total $18 billion in lost revenue each year in Ontario.
Picket lines are strong and community support is widespread and spirits remain high. We will continue our active solidarity with the workers of CUPE 2049, until this struggle is won.
Provincial Executive Committee, CPC (Ontario) ~ April 21, 2017