Street Health in Toronto accused of union-busting
I just got this notice by e-mail. Has anyone else heard about this?
WHAT: Rally and Free Meal outside Street Health
DATE: Monday, November 23rd, 2009
TIME: 12 noon
PLACE: Street Health
338 Dundas Street East
(just east of Sherbourne, on Dundas St., northside)
Co-Hosted by: Friends of Street Health and the Ontario Coalition Against
URGENT: There are new developments in the impending forced relocation of respected activist and advocate Gaetan Heroux, out of his office at Street Health to Scarborough. Neither his direct employer, Neighbourhood Link, nor management at Street Health are prepared to change their minds.
Join us at next Monday's free meal and rally, to find out more!
Please join us in supporting Gaetan Heroux, a deeply respected, much-loved, and invaluable mentor, leader, and friend in the struggle for dignity and justice for homeless and poor people, who has been a front-line worker at Dundas and Sherbourne for the past 20 years. Gaetan has provided ID clinics and drop-in services, and fostered deep relationships with community members, for years - all of this is now in jeopardy.
By moving Gaetan, his employer, Neighbourhood Link, in apparent cooperation with Street Health management, will effectively deny people access to a service that is essential to their lives. What will happen to people who need to access their ID outside of clinic hours? What will happen to people who cannot afford or are literally unable to travel to Victoria Park & Danforth? What will happen to people who urgently need their ID, to access social assistance or PNA, who need to be within walking distance of the PAID Project in order to meet their basic needs?
Will people be provided with the transit fares they cannot afford, in order to travel to Victoria Park & Danforth? What about the additional essential support people have gained by accessing Street Health for other services, when they have come to the agency to access Gaetan?
It seems illogical that ID clinics located only minutes away from Gaetan's administrative office at Street Health will now be more than an hour away from his new location. It also seems illogical to sever Gaetan's deep and consistent connection with those he has worked with for years.
The move to relocate Gaetan away from the East end comes after he and fellow ID workers wrote a letter of support for the unionized staff at Street Health. This decision will greatly decrease Gaetan's access to the people who need his services, as well as cause a great disruption to his own life.
Please come out next Monday to support Gaetan and all the workers at Street Health who are fighting for a fair and timely contract. Help us send a message to Street Health management and Neighbourhood Link that this harassment and targeting must stop.
Co-Hosted by: Friends of Street Health and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
For more information, call OCAP: 416.925.6939 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.ocap.ca
Street Health is an agency in Toronto that provides health, outreach, support, and ID services to homeless and under-housed people, primarily in the downtown east end. It is seen by many as providing some of the most innovative and user-friendly programs for poor and homeless people in the city. Many OCAP members and supporters rely on Street Health and its staff on a regular basis, and we view this agency as an essential part of the downtown east community.
We are greatly concerned with union busting activities that have been taking place at Street Health. Since the workers at the agency joined CUPE Local 4308 in April 2008, Street Health management has delayed bargaining a first collective agreement, has created an atmosphere of intimidation towards those who signed union cards, and overseen a recent failed attempt to decertify the union by staff members who have management's open and visible support. Since March 2009, Street Health has lost over 50 years (at least 12 staff members) of experience and connection with the community it serves.
In particular, we are shocked at the most recent reprisal against one of OCAP's own members, for supporting his peers at Street Health in their efforts to unionize.
Several days after Gaetan Heroux and his co-workers at the PAID ID Project (a Neighbourhood Link agency program that has a worker operating out of Street Health - Gaetan) sent a letter supporting the unionized workers to the Street Health Board of Directors, Gaetan was informed that he would be forced to relocate to Scarborough. Gaetan has provided ID clinics and drop-in services, and fostered deep relationships with community members, for years.)
This decision not only means a cut to services to new immigrants, poor and homeless people in the downtown east, but it also means the driving out of a deeply respected activist who has dedicated his life to fighting poverty and injustice. Gaetan is an invaluable, experienced worker whom Street Health should have protected at all costs. This mean-spirited relocation
will pose a significant hardship on him and his clients. Recent actions taken by management toward the staff at Street Health are creating a negative effect on the important services that Street Health provides.