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Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter rallies in solidarity with CUPE 2073 workers

The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter rallied today in solidarity with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2073 workers at the Canadian Hearing Society who have been on strike since March 5.

The Globe and Mail’s André Picard comments, “It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: The 227 workers – interpreters, speech-language pathologists, counsellors, literacy instructors and audiologists who provide services to clients who are deaf or hard-of-hearing – have been without a contract for four years, and the employer is trying to whittle down their benefits to save money.”

Picard adds, “The key point of disagreement is sick leave. The union wants sick-leave provisions to remain as is, arguing that the work is stressful and demanding, and workers have high rates of burnout and repetitive strain injury (sign-language interpreting for hours a day is punishing on the body). The employer, the Canadian Hearing Society, wants to buy back unused sick days that have been banked, and have a third party determine who is eligible for short-term disability.”

This afternoon, The Peterborough Examiner reported, “CUPE 2073 members were joined by representatives of other unions to mark one month since the beginning of their strike against the Canadian Hearing Society on Reid St. The rally was one of 24 held across the province Monday after weekend talks ended without a deal. ‘Sick days remain the sticking point’, said CUPE national representative Adam Coones, explaining the company wants to have a third-party insurer administer short-term sick days in addition to long-term sick leave. ‘That’s not good for our members’, he said at the rally.”

The article then notes, “Other unions at the rally Monday included Unifor, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, United Truckers Association Ontario, and members of the Peterborough NDP.”

Chapter activist Roy Brady tells us, “There were also five Council of Canadians chapter activists at this rally.” Notably, Brady has also been the chair of the Peterborough Health Coalition for almost 15 years.

In a Facebook post, CUPE national representative Coones says, “Amazing support from Peterborough Labour Community, NDP, Council of Canadians, Peterborough Health Coalition at the CUPE Local 2073 picket line today in Peterborough. #Solidarity lines are up at all 24 locations across the province today.”

For further updates, please see the CUPE 2073 website here.