With a rally that drew a "great turnout" of more than 100 supporters on March 13, it was clear that the OPSEU members at the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa are standing strong for the services they provide.
"The employer was not expecting us to get a strike vote but we did," said OPSEU Local 454 CAS bargaining committee chair Michele Thorn. "Now they are hoping to divide us, to make us weaker, but we won't let that happen!"
"Their refusal to include solid language that protects ALL our jobs for now and in the future suggests they do not really value us," said Thorn. "We don't want a strike. The best way to avoid one, is to stay strong, trust the process, and continue to support your bargaining team. We can do this!"
The roughly 400 workers at Children's Aid Society of Ottawa have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2017. Nearly two weeks ago, a strong majority of the OPSEU Local 454 members who work at Children’s Aid voted in favour of going on strike if the employer insists on a collective agreement that allows for contracting out.
Chrisy Tremblay, who is the vice-chair of OPSEU’s CAS sector and a member of the Local 454 CAS bargaining committee, reminded the crowd that the workers at Children's Aid Society of Ottawa can't provide quality services if they don't have job security and decent working conditions.
Tremblay also thanked all the Ottawa-area labour activists who joined the rally.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas praised the workers for standing up for the services they provide, pledging the support of OPSEU's 150,000 members.
"I'm proud to stand with these members as they fight for themselves and for the people who depend on the services they provide," he said. "It's members like these that make OPSEU strong and Ontario great."