The Honourable Minister Merrilee Fullerton, MPP, MD
Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
Re: Lennox Addington Interval House
I write to you on behalf of the twenty (20) women who work at the Lennox Addington Interval House in Napanee, Ontario, who have been on strike since October 29, 2021.
The women who work in this shelter care deeply for their clients who are women and children escaping violence. They understand that the services they provide are critical. They did not want to go on strike.
Ultimately, the employer’s conduct at the bargaining table has prevented a settlement of this dispute. There was first an incorrect belief that the organization was affected by Bill 124. Later, there were twenty-eight (28) previously agreed language changes to which the employer now refused to agree.
Let me be clear: this strike is not about money. This strike is about having ordinary language in the collective agreement that protects workers. Basic language like the right to have Full Time and Temporary jobs posted and filled fairly, to file a grievance and have it heard, and to have union representation at discipline meetings when needed.
Over three weeks ago, I contacted the employer with an offer of settlement. I asked for three things:
- Recognition of the principle of progressive discipline;
- Twenty-four hours’ notice to the union for a disciplinary meeting, where possible;
- Settlement of an employee grievance that was part of a prior employer offer but was later retracted.
Clearly, none of these three demands is unreasonable. Had the employer agreed to these three items, the bargaining committee would have recommended acceptance and the strike would have ended. It could have been over weeks ago.
To date, the employer has not responded to this proposal. The non-response is a clear message that this employer is content to have this strike continue.
Your Ministry provides the majority of the funding to this shelter. The Outreach services that LAIH should be providing to vulnerable women in vulnerable situations have been cancelled. I would suggest that the operations here are a clear failure of their responsibility to provide services to the community.
We ask that you use your authority to ensure that this strike ends as quickly as possible. We would be happy to discuss this situation with you or a representative from your office at your convenience.
Assistant to the National President