Wood Buffalo Housing workers in Fort McMurray, Alta., locked out

Dispute centres on contracting out: CUPE
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 05/10/2019
Labour relations
“This is not about wages. This is about our members wanting to do what they were hired to do: Take care of residents and their homes,” said Judy Collier, CUPE, Local 1505 president. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Wood Buffalo Housing (WBH) in Fort McMurray, Alta., served its 49 employees lock-out notice on May 6, meaning that as of May 10 at 4:30 pm, employees will be forced to hit the picket lines, said the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“Wood Buffalo Housing wants to lay off groundskeepers, maintenance staff and housekeepers and replace them with minimum-wage contractors without benefits,” said Judy Collier, CUPE, Local 1505 president. “This is not about wages. This is about our members wanting to do what they were hired to do: Take care of residents and their homes.”

CUPE knows from past experience that contracting out doesn’t save any money, as most of the lost wages are still paid to the contractor, said Collier.

“Over at Keyano College, they are replacing cleaning contractors with in house staff because they’re not saving money. Contractors pay their staff minimum wage but charge the college $26 per hour.  We see this over and over again across Canada.”

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