More than 200 union workers from more than 15 unions across the region converged on McIntyre Street to show their support for locked out Children’s Aid workers who have been off the job since December 23rd.
Supporters bused in from Sudbury and Toronto to support the workers as talks broke down again over the weekend.
See that story: UPDATED: Children's Aid talks break down...again
Union officials say the face to face talks ended around 5 p.m. on Friday but the union was asked to send a proposal to management via email on Sunday.
“When we got a response they said they wouldn’t accept our counter offer and at this point aren’t interested in meeting at the table again,” stated CUPE Local 2049 President Debbie Hill.
Locked out workers proudly held up their union signs but also with Valentine’s Day approaching asked the management to have a heart.
“Our members will continue to fight for what they need so that they can safely protect children and families,” said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer, Candace Rennick who attended today’s rally.
“It’s time for the Executive Director to show more of a heart than she did when she locked you out right before Christmas.”
Henri Giroux, president of the North Bay Labour Council was on hand as well to show his support for the locked out workers.
“We are going to be out here with these members for as long as it takes. Concession is not something we want to give away. Concession is something we bargain and when we bargain something in our contract we want to keep it, and right now this is what the employer wants to do is take away stuff that we have had for years and years and we are saying to the employer there is no way this is going to happen and labour is here to support this Local 2049.”
Rennick says CUPE will be taking the union's fight to Queen’s Park next week in hopes of getting the ear of Michael Coteau, the Minister in charge of Children and Youth Services for the province.
“I think it sends a message that there is something seriously wrong with the system,” added Rennick about the lockout.
“They are being chronically underfunded, there’s been a provincial funding wage freeze in place for many years and part of the message we are sending here today is a message to minister Coteau to put him on notice to say that it’s time for him to come out and support families and children in northern Ontario and we are going to be taking that message directly to him at Queen’s Park next week when the house resumes.”