Winchester – All fourteen non-management staff with Naomi’s Family Resource Centre, a women’s shelter in Winchester, 25 kilometres north of Morrisburg, are now members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
Amy Clements, chair of OPSEU’s Community Agencies Division, said the workers at Naomi’s had been concerned about the value management put on their contributions to the success of the agency.
“These women are extraordinarily committed and gifted,” she said. “They are an invaluable resource for women in extremely difficult circumstances and an immense asset to the community.
“Unfortunately, management didn’t always accord them the kind of respect that staff consistently show their clients,” said Clements. “It created a situation of low morale that threatened to affect the quality of care that clients received.
“I’m very pleased that workers decided to bring their concerns to OPSEU. Now staff will have a strong voice in the workplace – one that management will need to hear and respect.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, said he welcomed the presence of these hardworking professionals in the union.
“It’s not just the number of members in the union that makes it an effective tool for positive change,” he explained. “It’s also the quality of people who comprise it. And looking at the remarkable work these women do for other women in distress, I’m confident that OPSEU just became an even more aware, more compassionate, and more socially engaged union.
“I look forward to getting the workers at Naomi’s the best possible first contract. They certainly deserve it.”
Naomi’s Family Resource Centre has been providing emergency shelter, safety, and support programs to abused women and their children for almost three decades. It offers child and youth programs, and operates a 24-hour crisis hotline.
For more information: Amy Clements, 289-387-4680