CNIB Workers Prepare to Picket

CBC News, March 12, 2010 | 11:55 AM CT

Workers at Winnipeg’s Canadian National Institute for the Blind are preparing to walk off the job on Monday.

Union members on Thursday voted down the CNIB’s final contract offer, after
negotiating with management for close to a year.

The union is willing to accept a wage freeze in the first year of a new deal but not the proposed reductions to paid sick leave and long-term disability,
said United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 832 president Robert
Ziegler.

“The company has taken a hard line on a non-issue.” Robert Ziegler, union president

“The membership is outraged that after spending nearly a year at the bargaining table and being understanding on monetary issues that the company
would force a reduction in their health and wellness benefits when it has never been a problem,” Ziegler said.

The 19 union members who work at the CNIB perform various duties assisting people living in the province who have visual impairment.

Contract negotiations started in April 2009 and in July 2009, a government-appointed conciliator was brought on to try helping the two sides
reach a deal.

“The company has taken a hard line on a non-issue and unfortunately they are demonstrating to the people in the province who need these services that
they would rather force our members on a picket line instead of helping them,” said Ziegler.

There are no plans to continue negotiations as the company stated this was their final offer, he added.

However, the union is willing to meet with the company over the weekend prior to the Monday morning picket, if they are willing to move off this
issue, Ziegler said.

There’s been no comment from the CNIB.

Reproduced from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/03/12/mb-cnib-strike-contract-winnipeg.html