Toronto – All non-management staff at the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto are now proud members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The workers voted to join the union on January 22.
The Native Women’s Resource Centre provides a safe and welcoming environment for Toronto-area Indigenous women and their children. Staff assist them with services that cover housing, families, advocacy, employment, education and youth.
“These women dedicate their lives to helping Indigenous women and the union will make sure they have the resources to do their job,” said Kareen Marshall, chair of OPSEU’s Community Agencies Division. “The employer has increasingly taken their dedicated efforts for granted, causing real consternation.”
Marshall explained that the latest sign of erosion was the employer’s move to eliminate the paid week off during the Christmas break without explanation or notice. Workers were also greatly concerned about the employer’s increasing reliance on contract work.
“Job security was a big factor in workers seeking union representation. Precarious workers can have a terrible time balancing family obligations with changeable work schedules,” noted Marshall. “As more contract workers are hired, permanent employees worry about their own job security.
These new members will find a very warm welcome at OPSEU, which has a host of resources geared to Indigenous members and has established partnerships with Indigenous communities.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, echoed Marshall’s words. “Indigenous women and their families in Toronto encounter numerous challenges in integrating into the community. For over three decades, the dedicated workers with the Native Women’s Resource Centre have done everything possible to help them get settled and prepare them for success.
“OPSEU will do the same thing for our new members,” Thomas continued. “We’ll get them settled into the OPSEU family, and we’ll help them prepare for a first contract. I’m looking forward to it.”
For more information: Kareen Marshall, 416-540-3759