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Canadian Hearing Society strike over as CUPE members in Peterborough and across Ontario ratify deal

Canadian Hearing Society strike over as CUPE members in Peterborough and across Ontario ratify deal

Canadian Hearing Society workers will be back on the job Monday after a tentative deal reached earlier in the week was ratified.

The members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2073, including workers in Peterborough, have been on strike since March 6.

CUPE Local 2073 represents workers at 24 Ontario CHS offices, including counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists. CUPE indicates that 90 per cent of them are women, and 40 per cent are deaf.

“I’m pleased to say that our members ratified the tentative settlement,” stated Stacey Connor, president of Local 2073, in a media release. “I’m so proud of these workers for walking the line for 10 weeks for fairness, respect, and high quality services. Because of their toughness, because they were so steadfast, we were ultimately able to secure a fair contract.”

The workers had gone four years without a wage increase, but the key issue leading to the strike was sick leave, CUPE reports. The new contract includes wage increases for the five years, a pension improvement and an improved sick leave plan.

“We had no intention of being forced into a bottom-of-the-barrel sick leave plan that is not reflective of a workplace that’s been unionized for 40 years,” stated Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE national representative. “We are pleased to say we prevailed on that point.”

In Peterborough, workers have been picketing, with support from other unions, outside the CHS offices on Reid St. just south of Charlotte.

The strike came after two months of bargaining. The tentative deal was reached Monday and ratified Friday.

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