After a month of refusing to negotiate with striking workers and rejecting a request for binding arbitration, Children’s Aid Society of the Region of Peel (Peel CAS) has submitted a ‘final offer’ to the members of CUPE 4914. Instead of waiting for a response form the union, Peel CAS immediately filed for a supervised vote with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
435 front-line, administrative and support workers have been off the job since September 18, 2016. At the center of the dispute is language around workload and job evaluation that will protect children in care and ensure that they do not fall through the cracks.
“This is just the latest attempt to impose the same offer on us,” said Sonia Yung, President of CUPE 4914. “[Chief Executive Officer of Peel CAS] Rav Bains claims that this offer addresses our workload concerns, but our members can see through his tactics. He claims the union is refusing to move, but he won’t go to the bargaining table; he submits the same offer to us, and now he’s forcing us to vote.” Peel CAS has requested that the vote take place on December 8, 2016, while the union has requested that the vote take place sooner to speed up the process before the holidays.
“We are eager to get back to work so the children of Peel don’t have to go through the holidays without the support they need. So, if we are forced to vote, why wait?” said Yung. “Let’s get it over with and move on. Our bargaining team will act in accordance with what our members decide, that is how we operate, but we are committed to negotiating a deal that respects the workers and protects the children of Peel. If this offer shows no improvements on what we’ve already seen, then our members will reject it.”
The strike is now in its 11th week and the members of CUPE 4914 are growing concerned that replacement workers are not providing the quality of care that the holiday season requires. “Forcing this vote is yet another delay tactic.” Yung concluded, “Once our members have their say, Bains must accept that it is time to get back to the table and negotiate an end to this strike.”