More than 80 enthusiastic Homes First workers and their supporters crowded the sidewalk outside the agency’s head office on Shuter St. last week in a demonstration of solidarity against the hostile labour tactics displayed by management during contract negotiations.
They called on management and the board of directors of Homes First to stop using intimidation tactics like posting security guards outside the residences of the clients served by staff, represented by OPSEU Local 540. They also demanded Homes First stop using temporary personnel who only duplicate the ongoing work of the agency’s workers who provide supportive housing services to those seeking their first permanent residences.
Joining Local 540 on the information picket were members of CUPE Local 4308 working at Central Neighbourhood House and activists from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, who have been involved in actions against planned cuts to the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit program which provides one-time housing grants to people on social assistance.
John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, and Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, also delivered greetings to the crowd. They spoke about the global resistance to the austerity agenda adopted by right-wing governments and the struggle to achieve a living wage in Ontario.
Lin McInnes, chair of Local 540’s bargaining team, urged the public to contact eight city councillors responsible for monitoring Homes First in their wards and demand that they investigate the conduct of management. The union has filed an unfair labour practice charge with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
OPSEU Staff Representative
416-443-8888 ext 2484