OPSEU members in Local 316 at Community Living Campbellford/Brighton are feeling energized after kicking off a food drive and opening their strike headquarters.
From left to right: Shawn Devries, Courtney Huycke, Leslie Coles, OPSEU Executive Board Member Sara Labelle, Joel Usher Local 318 paramedic, Gay Nuttal, Andrew Margetts, and Jennifer Forsythe.
Still ongoing, the food drive was an effort by the local to prepare for a possible strike. The bargaining team meets with the employer again next Monday, and hopes to see movement in negotiations of a new collective agreement regarding their requests for more rigorous health and safety provisions, as well as fair wage increases.
“We’re very optimistic,” said Leslie Coles, vice-president of Local 316. “We got a good number of food and cash donations, and the people who dropped by were extremely supportive.
“Hitting the picket line would be hard on all of us, so it’s great to have this support as we brace ourselves for a possible strike. The fact is that our demands are reasonable. We want to protect both our safety and that of the people we support. We can’t in good conscience accept a new contract that doesn’t do that.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas threw his support behind the members: “the best way to avoid a strike is to prepare for one, and I’m happy to see my members taking this initiative.”
Community members can still drop off donations at the strike headquarters at 6 Front Street South, Campbellford. If a strike is avoided, all donations will be given to a local food bank.