Strike is over at Canadian Hearing Society

CUPE Uncategorized

CUPE 2073 ratifies tentative settlement

227 workers with the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) will return to the jobs they love on Monday, May 15th, following today’s ratification of the tentative settlement negotiated by their union earlier this week. The workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2073, have been on a province-wide strike since March 6th.

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

The key issue in dispute during the strike was sick leave, but the workers had also gone four years without wage increases. The contract allows for wage increases in each of five years and a modest pension improvement. Crucially, it also replaces the existing sick leave plan with a comparably good 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,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE National Representative. “We are pleased to say we prevailed on that point.”

“Everyone is looking forward to getting back to serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and to providing vital services,” said Stacey Connor. “We are so grateful to the community for all the support shown us through the strike. They really sustained us with their understanding and support, and with their numerous picket line visits.”

“We hope that CHS is as interested as we are in moving forward together to provide high quality services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in a respectful workplace environment,” added Wilker-Frey. “We are there for that hard work, and we hope they are too.”

CUPE Local 2073 represents workers in 24 CHS offices across Ontario. They serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by working as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists. 40% of the members of CUPE 2073 are Deaf, and 90% of them are women.

Tentative settlement in labour dispute between CUPE 2073 and Canadian Hearing Society

CUPE Uncategorized

CUPE Local 2073, representing 227 striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), has reached a tentative settlement with the CHS. The tentative deal, if ratified by both parties, ends a nine-week-old strike that started March 6th. Mediated talks were facilitated by third-party mediator John Stout over four and a half days in Toronto.

No details of the tentative settlement will be released until the membership has had the opportunity to review and vote on it. Membership meetings and a ratification vote are scheduled for Friday, May 12th.

The earliest possible date workers could be back on the job is Monday, May 15th.

“I’m pleased to say we now have a resolution,” said Stacey Connor, president of Local 2073. “We have a deal that we can recommend to our members.”

“I want to thank our members for holding rock-solid picket lines for so long. Because these workers were so tough, we were finally able to move this employer into compromise mode, with Mr. Stout’s help. It should not have taken nine weeks, but here we are.”

“I especially want to thank the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community for its unflagging support through the strike. They walked alongside us on the picket lines. They brought us food. They wrote letters to politicians and to CHS to say that our issues are their issues. They were so supportive of us, and we want to say that we are so looking forward to being able to return to work providing them with vital services.”

CUPE Local 2073 represents workers in 24 CHS offices across Ontario. They serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by working as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists. 90% of workers are women, and 40% of them are Deaf.

 

Mediated talks will continue May 5th, 6th and 7th in labour dispute between CUPE and CHS

CUPE Uncategorized

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2073, representing 227 striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), will continue mediated talks with CHS on May 5th, 6th and 7th, in an effort to reach a resolution to the eight-week old labour dispute. The talks commenced today, May 4th, and are facilitated by third party mediator John Stout.

The parties agree that public communications on the substance and process of these mediated talks will be suspended for as long as talks continue.

CUPE Local 2073 represents workers in 24 CHS offices across Ontario. They serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by working as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists.

Mediated talks scheduled for May 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th in labour dispute between CUPE and CHS

CUPE Uncategorized

CUPE Local 2073, representing 227 striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), will enter mediated talks with CHS on May 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, in an effort to reach a resolution to the eight-week old labour dispute. The talks will be facilitated by third party mediator John Stout.

The parties agree that public communications on the substance and process of these mediated talks will be suspended for as long as talks continue.

CUPE Local 2073 represents workers in 24 CHS offices across Ontario. They serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by working as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists.

 

Striking Canadian Hearing Society workers and their allies rally in front of Ministries of Health and Community and Social Services

CUPE Uncategorized

Over the lunch hour, hundreds of people rallied outside government offices in support of members of CUPE Local 2073, the striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS). The 227 workers, who provide vital services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, have been on a province-wide strike since March 6th.

“We know that negotiations require compromise and effort,” said Stacey Connor, president of Local 2073. “We’ve worked hard to meet CHS on their major demands – but they choose to put their energy into prolonging this strike, rather than finding a way to work with us to end it. It is incredibly frustrating for our members, who love their work and want to get back to providing vital services to the community. We wonder if CHS sees the long-term damage that is happening here. If they can’t, we hope the provincial government, as their major funder, will provide a wake-up call.”

“The Ministries of Health and Community and Social Services are the major funders of this agency,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “It’s high time they took a closer look at what’s going on with CHS. As reported by the CBC, this is an agency where some executives have seen their salaries rise by 75% while frontline staff have been flatlined for four years – four years. And these dramatic increases in executive salary have occurred over the same period that some regional offices have been closed.”

Hahn called on the ministries to conduct a review of spending at CHS. “In 2016 fiscal year alone, as reported to the Canada Revenue Agency, CHS spent $840,000 on consultants. The government’s ‘hands off’ approach is not confidence-inspiring. We’re asking the province to review how much of the funding they provide is actually goes to frontline service delivery.”

President of the Ontario Association for the Deaf, George Postlethwait Jr, also spoke at the rally. “The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community is suffering without the vital services these workers provide,” he said. “The CHS claims to be functioning normally during the strike – we know that’s not true. Members of the community are unable to access the services they need. The government just has to ask us, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers of these services. This is far from business as usual, and we urge the provincial government to take a closer look at how CHS is spending its funding.”

Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents 227 workers at CHS offices in Ontario. Members of CUPE 2073 work at CHS as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists. 90% of those on strike are women, and 40% of the workforce is Deaf.

CUPE files unfair labour practice complaint against Canadian Hearing Society

CUPE Uncategorized

Lawyers for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2073, representing 227 striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), have filed an unfair labour practice complaint at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). The workers have been on strike since March 6th.

In its submissions to the OLRB, the union contends the employer has violated the Ontario Labour Relations Act in multiple ways. The Act (legislation governing the rules of engagement in collective bargaining) is clear that where there is a bargaining agent – a union – representing workers, the employer may not attempt to “direct deal” with individual employees. Yet that is exactly what the CHS did on April 7th, when it couriered 227 individual offers to striking workers by Purolator, at their home addresses.

“Repeatedly, the CHS has sought to prolong this strike rather than resolve it,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE National Representative. “They took over three weeks to come back to the table after the strike began. Once at the table, they refused to make any meaningful compromise toward resolution – even when faced with a major move by the union to address their so-called liability concern. Then, once talks broke down again, they tried to cut individual deals with our members.”

The union’s complaint outlines that in addition to “direct dealing”, the CHS also shared information with striking workers that it never once tabled in negotiations. The CHS also sent out false financial information to employees, which differs from figures used at the bargaining table.

“We wonder how many thousands of dollars the CHS wasted sending these misleading, inappropriate individual letters to our members by same-day courier across the province,” said Wilker-Frey. “The money CHS is spending to prolong this strike should be going to provide high-quality services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. We continue to urge them to find a mature way to resolve this dispute. We have met them on their major point. They need to find a way to get to yes. Both parties owe that to the community we serve.”

The 227 workers have not had a wage increase in four years. They are counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists.

Talks break off in CUPE-Canadian Hearing Society Negotiations

CUPE Uncategorized

“We still need a willing partner to resolve this”

After four days of bargaining, talks have broken off between CUPE 2073 and the Canadian Hearing Society(CHS).  Talks were aimed at ending a province-wide strike that started March 6th.

“We tried in good faith to reach an agreement with the CHS,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE National Representative. “We take our responsibility to find solutions in a strike situation very seriously. We entered these four days of talks with the aim of doing that. We made significant moves to meet the employer’s stated needs.  But we were faced with an employer still more committed to gutting contract rights than ending this strike and restoring services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

“I wanted to be able to tell my members we will soon be back on the job and able to restore the vital services the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community relies on,” said Stacey Connor, president of CUPE Local 2073.  “I’m disappointed to say that instead I will be telling them to shore up their picket lines, because our employer has not come anywhere close to offering a fair contract. To our many allies and supporters in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, I say thank you for your continued patience. We are doing all we can to resolve this dispute. We know you understand that we are fighting for your services as well as our working conditions, and we are grateful for your ongoing support.”

“We remain available to negotiate,” stressed Wilker-Frey. “But we need a willing partner to resolve this.  We are hoping that at some point soon the CHS will realize that the union has addressed its stated major concerns.  They need to figure out how to get to yes, to restore the services this community relies on, and to rebuild their relationship with their employees and our community.”

227 CUPE 2073 members work at 24 CHS office across Ontario, as counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists.

-30-

For more information:
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications, (416) 738-4329

Talks to continue tomorrow in CUPE-Canadian Hearing Society labour dispute

CUPE Uncategorized

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2073, representing 227 striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), will continue to meet with its employer Thursday in ongoing talks aimed at ending the strike that began March 6th.

The parties have agreed to suspend public communications regarding the substance and process of negotiations, while bargaining continues.

Striking workers welcome the Canadian Hearing Society’s return to bargaining

CUPE Uncategorized

Striking workers with the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), who have been off the job since March 6th, are hoping that their employer’s willingness to go back to the bargaining table today (Wednesday) signals both a readiness to find a resolution to the labour dispute, and a return to high-quality services for Ontario’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

“We are pleased our employer has agreed to a date for face-to-face talks,” said Stacey Connor, president of Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “This is the first step toward resolution, and toward getting back to providing the vital services the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community relies on.”

“We know it’s going to take joint effort to find a resolution to this strike,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE National Representative. “We are encouraged the CHS has accepted our invitation to get back to the table to undertake that work with us.”

The 227 workers are represented by CUPE Local 2073. They are counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, and information technology specialists.

 

Striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society take to the airwaves with new radio ad

CUPE Uncategorized

Striking workers at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) are taking to the airwaves with a new radio ad in Toronto.  The ad urges the employer back to the table to resolve the strike through negotiations.

Listen to the radio ad:

An ASL vlog of the ad is also available:


“We are concerned that the employer has not agreed to a single face-to-face bargaining session since the strike began on March 6th,” said Stacey Connor, president of Local 2073.  “Sending ultimatums that it’s our way or the highway, through the mediator, is not the way this strike gets resolved.  We need to do the actual work of sitting down for a dialogue about what’s in dispute here.”

“Bargaining involves the parties talking to each other,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, CUPE National Representative.  We hear media reports of CHS spokespeople saying ‘we’re engaged in the process.’  What does that mean, precisely, when we offer seven consecutive days to bargain and we get take-up on not a single one? Having a conversation with the mediator is not bargaining.”

“We are concerned, as employees, that the CHS is losing its way,” said Connor.  “We see them pushing the agency in a direction that is not about serving the Deaf, Oral Deaf, Deafened and Hard of Hearing community.  We see them ignoring our invitation to bargain in favour of allowing a strike to linger on – that hurts the community.  We need them to show respect for the community, and their employees.  As we say in our radio ad:  hope they are listening.”

The striking workers have been without a contract since 2013. 90% of them are women, and many of them are Deaf.  They’ve gone four years without a wage increase.  CUPE Local 2073 represents 227 counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, information technology specialists, and other staff at 24 Canadian Hearing Society offices across Ontario.