For clients’ sake, it’s time to pick up the phone and get back to the bargaining table
On behalf of 435 striking frontline, administrative and support workers at the Children’s Aid Society of the Region of Peel (Peel CAS), Sonia Yung, President of CUPE 4914, today issued the following open letter to Peel CAS Chief Executive Officer Rav Bains.
Open letter to Rav Bains, Chief Executive Officer of Peel Children’s Aid Society
Ten days ago, frontline, administrative and support workers at Peel CAS began strike action, shortly after your bargaining team presented ours with what it claimed to be its ‘final offer.’
Since then, we have been consistently clear – our bargaining committee is on standby and ready to resume bargaining on short notice. The only thing that has been lacking has been a willing partner at the table.
You can imagine my surprise when I learned of your public statements indicating your willingness to resume bargaining.
“We put our best offer to CUPE; however, if CUPE is willing to negotiate on the outstanding items, we are happy to return and try to reach an agreement.”
You said these words on September 19, one day after the strike began. And yet, I haven’t heard a single word from either you or any member of your bargaining team requesting a resumption of bargaining.
Almost every day since the strike began, I have been outside your office from before 7 a.m. until well after 7 p.m. I’ve seen you, and all four members of your bargaining team, get on and off the bus that shuttles managers and strike breakers into Peel CAS. At any point, you or any member of the Peel CAS’ bargaining team could have reached out to me by phone or email.
Despite having all my contact information available to you, this has not happened, which would raise in any reasonable person’s mind questions regarding your sincerity when you express a willingness to return to the bargaining table to everyone, save and except the people you would be bargaining with.
Our members do not want to be on strike. Families in Peel Region depend on the support our members provide. We know for a fact that the strike is having an impact on the quality of the supports available to families who need them.
If Peel CAS is indeed sincere about reconsidering the terms of your so-called ‘final offer’ and actually negotiating on the outstanding terms, I am literally outside with a fully-charged smartphone, every day.
A simple phone call or email is far more cost-effective than your ‘contingency plan,’ which appears to consist of offering eye-popping inducements to people to break our strike.
And for the record, while I haven’t heard from you, I did take a call late last week from a client in crisis. Unfortunately, when I tried to report a child protection concern to your ‘contingency’ team, my call to Peel CAS went unanswered.
Rav, for our clients’ sake, it’s time for you to pick up the phone and get your team back to the bargaining table.
I await your reply.
Sonia Yung, President