Frustrated and angered by management stalling tactics at the bargaining table, members of Local 145 representing workers at the Huron House Boys Home staged a pair of information pickets Wednesday outside their agency in Bright’s Grove, near Sarnia.
The 23-member unit organized in 2008 but they’ve been stymied ever since by management’s indifference in negotiating a first contract.
“We started negotiating in 2009 and it’s been a stalemate to date,” Scott Honke, chair of the OPSEU Local 145 bargaining team told the Sarnia Observer newspaper. “They haven’t budged as to their negotiations. They’re not treating us fairly and that’s why we’re upset and we’re bringing it to the public now, so they know we’re not being treated fairly.
Local 145 scheduled its second information picket on Wednesday to 5 p.m. to coincide with the monthly meeting of the agency’s board of directors. But instead of engaging with their own employees members of the board caught wind lf the demonstration and rescheduled at the last minute in order to avoid the information picket.
Honke pointed out staff at Huron House Boys Home, who currently earn in the range of $16 to $17, are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to wages among similar child treatment centres in southwest Ontario.
Management is proposing to freeze wages and replace full-time jobs with part-time work.
Staff at Huron provide residential and counseling services to adolescent boys. They are concerned about the future of the Huron House Boys Home. Some full-time jobs are being shifted to part-time status and the home isn’t at capacity.