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Gélinas Calls for Fairness for Counselling Centre Staff

SUDBURY – Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas will visit the picket line of Local 2020 on Friday to show support for counselling staff and call for fairness.

WHAT: Picket Line Support Event for USW Local 2020
on strike at Sudbury Counselling Centre

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: USW Local 2020 Picket Line
Sudbury Counselling Centre
260 Cedar St.

WHO: Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas and members of USW Local 2020

A staff of 12, including psychotherapists, counsellors and administrative staff – all women – are on strike. Working at a charitable non-profit centre is by no means highly paid, but it’s not about the money.

Staff want to continue helping the people of Sudbury, as they have done since 1971, including providing programs for the francophone community that are not available anywhere else in the community.

On strike since Mon., Oct. 16, staff welcome the support from community allies such as Gélinas.

“The employer is demanding concessions around working conditions and a re-write of an employment contract that’s been effective for over 30 years. There’s been no history of grievances with the employment contract. The employer is attacking these workers for no reason,” said Lynne Descary, USW Staff Representative.

Counselling staff offer counselling and psychotherapy, deliver Employee Assistance Programs, partner assault response for women and men, counselling for women experiencing sexual and domestic violence, assistance for male survivors of sexual violence, mental health counselling and more.

“Staff on the picket line are emotional because clients are showing up for appointments and leaving in tears when they find out the services they need aren’t available. Management has made no effort to let clients know services are suspended,” said Descary.

Counselling staff are apologizing to clients and to community partners who refer clients to the centre. While on strike, the counselling staff will continue to offer the Child Witness Program to young children scheduled to appear in court.

The staff members are asking clients and agency partners to contact management and ask the employer to respect the staff and return to the table with an honest commitment to reach a fair agreement.

The existing collective agreement expired on July 31. Bargaining since August 24, there’s been no movement after four conciliation meetings.


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario and Atlantic Director, 416-243-8792
Lynne Descary, USW Staff Representative, 705-675-2461 x 224, ldescary@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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