Homes First rally gains Toronto City Councillors support
Close to 50 Homes First workers and their supporters braved the cold on Wednesday, February 20, to bring their message to Toronto City Hall. A huge banner at the entrance summed up their message for Toronto City Councillors: “Bad management: you’re paying for it.”
Workers at Homes First Society have been on strike since Monday, February 18. Their contract expired in March, 2012.
Vice-President/ Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida expressed his disbelief that Homes First Society has yet to open their books. “I can’t believe there is still no transparency about the finances of this public agency,” said Almeida. “It is time for them to let everyone see what is really going on.”
“The City of Toronto provides six million in funding to Homes First. We are here to ask our City Councillors to help us get back to the table and negotiate a fair deal,” said OPSEU negotiator, Kathleen Demareski.
MPP for Davenport, Jonah Schein, stopped by to express his solidarity with the picket, and emphasized that the workers at Homes First provide critical services for Toronto’s homeless: people who are vulnerable and in urgent need of decent housing options.
Homes First workers finished their rally with a visit to the City Council session. They were pleased that Councillors Mike Layton and Ana Bailao offered their support. Pam McConnell and Adam Vaughan also showed interest in helping to come to some resolution with the employer.
“Thanks to everyone who came out to support these workers today. Our rally provoked the attention and support these workers deserve. Now let’s get them back to work,” said Demareski.