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Shelter Staff Vote to Take Strike Action if Necessary

·2-min read

Workers at Interval House in Brockville, Ont., have voted in favour of strike action to back up their effort to win a first collective agreement as members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 8327.

The workers, all women, at the shelter for abused women and children, cite a dysfunctional work environment, lack of transparency and governance, creating what they see as an unsafe workplace for both workers and clients.

"We do not take the notion of interrupting services for women and children in our community lightly," says Kellie Hare, Unit Chair. "We have enlisted the support of USW after all other attempts to invoke change have fallen flat."

USW Ontario Director Marty Warren said it is surprising that a charity as essential as Interval House would choose not to treat its employees with the respect they deserve for doing important work in the community.

"Our union represents workers in at least one other Interval House in Eastern Ontario, and it is a mutually beneficial relationship," said Warren. "Failing to protect workers is not an option. Collective bargaining is the accepted legal forum in our society to ensure that everyone’s rights are respected. That goes for non-profit organizations as well."

Unlike other community-based shelters, the Brockville facility has been without a board of directors and has not had an annual general meeting since 2016.

"We hope this strike vote will signal to this employer that these workers are serious about improving their working conditions, which in turn will improve the service to the women and children of Brockville," said Tracy Simpson, USW Staff Representative.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210305005487/en/

Contacts

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Tracy Simpson, USW Staff Representative, 613-260-7205, ext. 233, tsimpson@usw.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca