Counselling staff at Sudbury, Ont., centre walk off jobs

Despite bargaining since Aug. 24, no agreement yet reached
||Last Updated: 10/20/2017
Labour strike
The existing collective agreement expired on July 31. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Ten counselling staff members — working at the Sudbury Counselling Centre — went on strike Oct. 16.

Workers at the centre, who are members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2020, were outside the building delivering apologies to clients, said the union.

"The employer is demanding concessions around working conditions and a re-write of an employment contract that's been effective for over 30 years," said Lynne Descary, USW staff representative. "After four meetings with a conciliator, we didn't even get to monetary discussions at the table."

While on strike, the counselling staff will continue to offer their children's services, such as the child witness program, for vulnerable children in the community scheduled to appear in court, according to USW.

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 and mental health counselling.

Staff members 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, said the union.

The existing collective agreement expired on July 31. Bargaining since Aug. 24, there's been no movement after four conciliation meetings, according to USW. Operating with a 100 per cent strike mandate, counselling staff were in a legal strike position as of Oct. 14.

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