The letter below was sent by Warren (Smokey) Thomas to Children's Aid Society (CAS) of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound Executive Director Gisèle Hébert and President Joe Rogers. In it, the President condemns the lockout of frontline CAS workers in CUPE Local 2049.
January 27, 2017
Ms. Gisèle Hébert
Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound
Mr. Joe Rogers
Children’s Aid Society Board of Directors
244 McIntyre Street West
North Bay, Ontario, P1B 2Z3
Re: CUPE 2049 lockout
Dear Ms. Hébert and Mr. Rogers:
I am writing out of concern for the frontline staff at the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound. You locked out 140 frontline, administrative, and child support workers on December 23, days before many of them would have been celebrating the holidays with their families. Your actions are especially appalling considering that this time of year can be enormously challenging for people your agency serves.
I have also learned that you are using temporary “scab” labour. Firstly, I assure you that under no circumstances will any of my members cross CUPE 2049’s picket line. Secondly, I want to remind you that the practice of employing scab labour can only destroy any trust and good will remaining between you and your employees.
These workers are not demanding the moon. They want workload language – something virtually all other CASs already have. By denying this basic request, you are not only putting your employees’ health and safety at risk, but also threatening the quality of services they provide. Some of the most vulnerable people find support in these services. They count on CAS workers. By devaluing the work of your employees, you diminish the level of support they can provide to clients.
Give these workers a fair contract. Give the communities they serve what they need. Please get back to the bargaining table.
I stand in solidarity with the workers in CUPE 2049. I know all 130,000 of my members stand with me. I look forward to your prompt action on this matter.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
c: OPSEU Executive Board
Debbie Hill, President, CUPE Local 2049
Beverly Patchell, CUPE Social Services Coordinator
Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair, Social Services Committee