The following statement was issued by Bev Patchell, social services coordinator with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), to correct earlier claims made to media by the executive director of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound. The executive director’s claims were made with regard to an injunction granted last week that establishes protocols for picket lines at the premises of the Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS:
It has come to our attention that, since March 23, the executive director of Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS has made claims in the media suggesting that the injunction granted last week was issued in response to evidence of serious incidents on the picket lines staffed by workers locked out of the society’s premises.
In fact, Justice Rivard’s order was made based on a negotiated protocol agreed by both the society and the union and not based on any findings of fact.
To imply otherwise is both irresponsible and potentially damaging to the reputation of workers who were locked out of their jobs at Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS on December 23.
As they have since the beginning of the lockout, CUPE members will continue to conduct themselves appropriately and responsibly on the picket line. However, they are concerned that, once the labour dispute is over, they will return to their jobs with stains to their reputations as professionals and as caring providers of child protection services in northern communities.
Children’s aid workers spend years building relationships of trust with the families they serve. It is distressing to think that claims based on hearsay are being repeated publicly, despite the fact that they could have a lasting impact on the ability of workers to perform their jobs effectively.