CUPE strike hits two months

The strike by members of CUPE Local #65 at the Association for Community Living here hit its 62nd day on Wednesday–with no sign of any talks or settlement in the near future.
“It’s status quo, nothing’s changed,” noted Local #65 president Gwen Miller.
She said the employees remain strong on the picket lines despite the length of the strike, with few complaining about being in dire financial straits on the union’s strike pay.
“Not really that I’ve heard. Most people have been able to make arrangements,” said Miller.
But, she added, there is mounting concern over their clients.
“Obviously, there’s concern about the clients because their lives are on hold,” said Miller. “We have clients who work at businesses in the community and that’s not happening and social outings that aren’t happening.
“What we do for them doesn’t even compare to what management is doing right now,” she charged. “They provide food and water, we ran their lives for them.”
The community also has been showing some support for the striking workers as “CUPE . . . It’s Time” signs continue to be put up in yards all over Fort Frances.
“We have people phoning us for signs every day,” said Miller. “We actually haven’t solicited to put them up except along Sixth Street and Walker Avenue.”
CEP Local #306 also will be supporting CUPE #65, joining the likes of the ETFO and OSSTF with a donation to help the striking workers.
And CUPE #65 is holding a fundraiser this Friday (July 13) from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., which will feature music by the band, “Alliance.”
There also will be a Chinese auction for donated items and two district residents–Gary Gamsby and Kevin Kennedy–are expected to shave their beards if $1,000 each is raised.
“We’ll hopefully have two beard shavings. For sure we have Kevin’s gone so now we’re just working on Gary’s,” said Miller.
Tickets for the fundraiser, which will be held at the Fort Frances Legion, are available for $6 in advance by calling 274-7411, or $8 at the door.