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Author Topic: homeless shelter and drop in closed by strike
dianal who asked to be unregistered
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posted 20 June 2003 05:57 AM      Profile for dianal who asked to be unregistered     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I can't believe this didn't get much press.....CUPE local 4308 (I believe) of Central Neighbourhood House have walked off the job at the Met United Church Shelter and the 60 Richmond St. Drop in.

The drop in had recent city funding cuts that reduced their operating hours from 8 to 4 a day. The shelter workers say they need more staffing, and in general the union is asking for a 3% wage increase as they deferred any pay increase in their first contract as the agency said they would be facing a deficit, which they ended up NOT having. The agency offered a 1.5% increase over 2 years. The shelter and drop in workers walked off the job last Saturday. I'm not sure if those two facilities are now closed BUT what do folks here think about unionized workers walking off the job in a strike situation?


From: There is a deep lack of respect in the belief that we know what others need... | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
dianal who asked to be unregistered
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posted 20 June 2003 06:01 AM      Profile for dianal who asked to be unregistered     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
and... why are the press and local activist organiztions so reticent to delve into the issues relevant here? TDRC released a shelter inspection report that was cursory at best, and no media or other activist groups care to get into the nitty gritty of services for the homeless. What gives?
From: There is a deep lack of respect in the belief that we know what others need... | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 20 June 2003 08:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I realize it's a hard thing in the short term for a centre like that to be closed. But really, for long term viability, the workers have to do something, and obviously they were pushed to take drastic measures in order to be heard. In the long run, if the place and the workers are funded properly, it will benefit the recipients of the service.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 20 June 2003 10:17 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's right around the corner from me & I wondered what all the CUPE shirts were about at the drop in centre. Go, Union Brothers and Sisters!
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 20 June 2003 10:29 AM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I volunteered at the Ontario St. Central Neighborhood House as a tutor, and thereby became familiar with some of the work that they do. When I learned about their dispute, I was under the impression that all the CNH employees were poised to strike. I take it only some of them have actually walked out?

I'm definitely in support of these dudes and ladies. Striking is one of the very few real tools a workforce has to protect itself from unfair practices and unjust treatment. And really, it's so much more than just their own jobs their fighting for, since they provide such essential services to so many people.

Go CUPE 4308!


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Doug
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posted 20 June 2003 11:38 AM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's unfortunate, but unlike in some other public sector strike situations, there are alternative services still available. It doesn't sound as though those workers had much choice given what they were being offered.
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
dianal who asked to be unregistered
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posted 20 June 2003 12:54 PM      Profile for dianal who asked to be unregistered     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I was under the impression that all the CNH employees were poised to strike. I take it only some of them have actually walked out?

Lima Bean, apparently it's 150 staff people: the home support workers, the shelter and the drop in staff.


From: There is a deep lack of respect in the belief that we know what others need... | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 20 June 2003 01:01 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I see. That leaves the administrative and day care staff etc. still on the job?

I'm not being critical at all, just wondering how this will effect the people I knew while I was volunteering there. I know that the now-striking employees held meetings and gathered there before picketing etc, but not all the employees in the building were involved in those actions. Just curious about how it breaks down. Maybe not all the people working there are union members?


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 20 June 2003 01:49 PM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Doug, what alternate services do you think exist? Places like this wouldn't be there if they weren't needed.

I am glad this strike isn't taking place in the middle of winter. The government needs to do more for agencies like this one and it's connected services and a strike is probably the last resort attempt to get the problems recognized.


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
dianal who asked to be unregistered
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posted 20 June 2003 02:19 PM      Profile for dianal who asked to be unregistered     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think there are different unions for different classifications of employees at CNH. I supervised CUPE staff about a year and a half ago, right after they got their first contract negotiated, and these were the home support, shelter and drop in workers, which are the only staff on strike and picketing.

Trisha is right...there are no alternate services. The shelters are beyond capacity, the drop ins have maximum numbers, too based on fire codes mostly. One of the issues, the staffing levels at Met United Church shelter is an ambiguous one, as there is no directive from any level of government for staff to 'client' ratios. (that is one eg of the nitty gritties I referred to earlier)

Yes government funding is woefully inadequate for services to the homeless. Funding alone won't resolve the bigger issues. I support the strikers, I've worked with some of them and most try very hard to provide good service. The City and our shelter services systems are poorly designed and administrated. Having worked in those systems, throwing more money at the problem isn't going to solve much. In the meanwhile tho, the frontline workers need support.


From: There is a deep lack of respect in the belief that we know what others need... | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Doug
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posted 20 June 2003 02:22 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This isn't, so far as I understand it, shutting down Toronto's entire system of homeless shelters and services - just a couple of them. Some of the stress is off that system this time of year too.
From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 20 June 2003 02:40 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But for people in the geographical areas that these shelters and drop-ins service, there may be no alternative at all, and they may, therefore, be giong entirely without service during this strike. Even if they're mobile enough to access other centres or shelters, there may be no room for them. The existing system is inadequate to say the least.

And just because it's not freezing cold outside doesn't really mean that there are any fewer homeless people or that they have diminished or lesser service needs. What about when it reaches 30+ degrees out and they don't have drinking water? It's a year-round issue.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 20 June 2003 06:43 PM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
People without money can't get around much in any city, they need access where they are. We had a situation in Thunder Bay last year when our emergency shelter was closed and an offer was made by a group all the way across town. Someone in our local government decided that few takers on that offer proved the service wasn't needed. That wasn't true. People from my end of town had no way of getting to the other end of town. Feet can only take you so many miles. Many people ended up in jail because of sleeping in doorways, there was nowhere else for them to go and people went around knocking on doors trying to get a drink of water. It was a terrible time.

It's easy for those who don't have to try to live this way to think it's easy to find alternatives.


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
kiowa
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posted 20 June 2003 08:59 PM      Profile for kiowa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle wrote:

quote:
I realize it's a hard thing in the short term for a centre like that to be closed. But really, for long term viability, the workers have to do something, and obviously they were pushed to take drastic measures in order to be heard. In the long run, if the place and the workers are funded properly, it will benefit the recipients of the service.

Jesus, that's one of the most compassionate and reaonable statements I've read in months. Especially (well, only) because it comes from a "leftie". Many lefties believe that all "conservatives" are cold-hearted greedy thugs (some are, most are not) who would just as soon see the poor starve. This is not true. What often separates lefties and rightes is a lack of the kind of synthetic thinking (compassionate yet realistic) which Michelle displays in her post.

I'm not being condescending, or trying to read too much into it. It just resonated with me, is all.

[ 20 June 2003: Message edited by: kiowa ]


From: Pax Americana | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged

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