Striking workers at the Lennox and Addington Interval House are calling for a return to the bargaining table. This comes after 20 unionized workers rejected the employer’s latest contract offer.
With picket mascot Stanlee at their side, week five of the strike begins for unionized employees of Interval House in Napanee. And despite the turn in the weather, those out on the line continue to believe in their cause.
Brooke Phillips, acting unit chair of the bargaining committee, says, “I think we’re actually feeling more resolved with our decision then we did even at the beginning. We’re feeling more connected as a team and more confident the ever that what we’re asking is valuable and that we’re in it for the long haul if we need to be.”
Unifor Local 414, which represents 20 workers, says negotiations broke down when management’s final offer failed to include more than 20 previously agreed to changes — and made no effort to improve workers core issues of staffing levels, union representation, health and safety and return to work language.
Interval House Napanee executive director Sue Weir says, “At the moment we’re at a bit of an impasse. We made an offer to the union on the 17th of November that they’ve turned down and haven’t presented anything further so things are still up in the air.
“We’re not sure where it goes forward we’re waiting for the union to respond and bring us an offer.”
Phillips, meanwhile, offered her take.
“We would absolutely love to get back to the table and really have a conversation about what are we at an impasse about because I struggle to understand what would be negative about protecting the women that work here now and also the women that are coming after us,” says Phillips.
And while it obviously isn’t business as usual at the location, those in charge are doing the best they can.
“We’re still continuing, so our shelter is still open, operational and currently at capacity,” says Weir. “We’re still operating crisis line services, we’re moving people in and out of transitional housing as it becomes available and supporting the folks who are living in that program as well as supporting folks who live in the community counselling program.”
The current collective agreement expired more than a year ago, and until the two sides sit down and find a solution to the current impasse, the strike continues.