CAW Protestors Urge Extendicare Back to Bargaining

May 4, 2010, 3:12 PM EST

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Hundreds of CAW activists staged a lively demonstration outside an Oakville, Ontario Extendicare facility on April 29, fighting back against employer demands to unfairly freeze wage rates and force other concessions on workers.

The demonstration outside Oakville's Wyndham Manor long-term care facility is the first in what the union promises will be a series of rotating protests at Extendicare facilities throughout Ontario.

The CAW has adamantly rejected the company's argument that newly introduced public sector wage restraint legislation in Ontario (Bill 16) applies to its employees.

"We are in contract talks with Extendicare - a private and hugely profitable corporation, not the Ontario government," said CAW staff representative Robert Buchanan, who is heading up the contract negotiations with 10 Extendicare facilities across the province. "It is ludicrous to think this company, that turned profits of $2.2 billion last year, is trying to use government legislation to short-change its employees."

Even though workers at Extendicare do not have the legal right to strike under Ontario law (as is the case with most health care workplaces), this has not deterred CAW members from taking action and making their voices heard, said CAW Local 302 President and National Executive Board member Nancy McMurphy.

"Our members will stand united against employer injustices, and trying to steal away wages from our members is a major injustice," McMurphy said.

CAW Local 504 members at Wyndham Manor worked their regularly scheduled shifts during the protest, while several hundred members from health care sector locals and other CAW-represented sectors demonstrated outside.

"Through these demonstrations, our intention is not to disrupt or compromise the important care our members deliver to residents," McMurphy said. "But we will find ways to deliver our message, loud and clear."

The CAW represents over 1,200 workers at Extendicare in Ontario.

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