Locked out CAS workers catch Premier Kathleen Wynne's attention
No talks planned between Children's Aid Society and CUPE as dispute goes into 5th week
The union representing 140 locked out full time, part time and casual workers with Nipissing and Parry Sound's Children's Aid Society says it was able to get some face time with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Wednesday.
The child and youth workers workers with CUPE Local 2049 have been walking the picket line for about five weeks now after they were locked out by the CAS in northeastern Ontario.
The premier was in North Bay, Wednesday to visit Nipissing University and Canadore College. The union set up information pickets at both locations to get the premier's attention.
"We know it's not the premier's position to step in on labour disputes but we... really hope that she'll pay attention to our situation," said Debbie Hill, the president of local 2049.
The two sides have not been able to find middle ground on issues such as workload as well as "unfair" contract language surrounding layoffs, according to the union.
No new negotiations are scheduled and a recent mediation date was cancelled.
Earlier in January, a representative with the Children's Aid Society told CBC News that the agency has been using management, former employees, workers from outside the region and retired CAS staff to fill in during the dispute.
Workers concerned about cancelled board meetings
The labour disruption has also caused the cancellation of regularly-scheduled board meetings for the CAS, and that development is worrying the locked-out workers.
The agency, on its website, announced that meetings are on hold due to the work stoppage.
The board meetings are an opportunity for the public to express concerns to the society, Hill said.
"There's people that want to know more information and want to see how we can get people back to work."
The Children's Aid Society, on its website, posted that it is keeping stakeholders, including members of the public, informed through posts on the site and well as through information in local media.
A meeting scheduled for Jan. 24 has been postponed, not cancelled, the agency added.