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Workers at Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services issue strike alert


Scarborough – After 18 months of negotiations with their employer, 48 Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members at Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services (SAFSS) in Local 518 are bracing for a strike that could start as early as 12:01 a.m. this Saturday.

Backed by a 100 per cent strike mandate from its members, the bargaining team is ramping up support to add pressure to the employer who has so far refused to co-operate at the table. The team will host an information picket outside the SAFSS office this afternoon, and invites the public to join.

Date: Friday, October 7, 2016
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Place: Outside SAFSS Head Office, 1200 Markham Rd, Toronto

OPSEU members at SAFSS provide a variety of services for recent immigrants, including language and skills development, newcomer settlement services, and childcare.

The key bargaining issues are an eight-year wage freeze, the employer’s unlawful suspension of benefits during a statutory freeze when no changes to contracts are permitted, and cuts to hours of work.

The main goal, says bargaining chair for Local 518 Valentina Khoudiakova, is achieving an agreement with the employer before the strike deadline. “We are showing the employer we are serious about our demand for fairness.

“We don’t want to be forced on strike. We don’t want to see the hundreds of people we provide services to – many of whom face enough hardships as refugees – suffer because of the employer's refusal to respect collective bargaining.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas threw his support behind Local 518. “These workers are crucial to the community of Scarborough,” he said.

“It’s all on the employer to prevent this strike. Stop stalling. Give these workers a deal commensurate with the value of their work.”

For more information: Valentina Khoudiakova, 905-889-6512, or Roz Gunn, A/Communications Officer, OPSEU, 416-708-7390

Picket details here.