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Strike mandate

About 75 local community support workers may soon be on strike if negotiations between their union and Guelph Independent Living fail to bring about a contract.

Staff of the organization, who work with the elderly and people with physical disabilities, voted 88 per cent in favour of walking off the job if negotiations on a first contract for the newly unionized workers fail, a news release said.

“Our members have spoken forcefully, and they’re saying the status quo doesn’t work anymore,” Laura Webster, president of OPSEU local 203, said in the release.

Workers voted in favour of unionizing in last October and began negotiations for a first contract in late spring.

Issues that led the workers to join the union include job security, promotion practices and the lack of benefits for part-time workers, Webster told the Tribune in a telephone interview in June.

Bargaining was disrupted in June when management fired a member of the local executive, a move described by the union as an act of intimidation, the release said.

Contract negotiations are scheduled to resume Oct. 19.

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