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Striking Durham Region inside workers to vote on contract deal

The strike in Durham Region may end soon as the municipality’s inside workers are set to vote on an amended contract deal on Saturday.

The region presented the amended deal to the union Wednesday, but it was not passed on to the 1,600 striking members for a vote at the time.

“After one day of initiating a strike, it seems CUPE 1764 has changed its perspective; finally giving its membership a chance to voice their own opinions about this situation,” said Roger Anderson, regional chair and CEO of Durham Region.

Workers started walking the picket lines on Thursday morning.

Six of the region’s directly operated child-care centres are closed during the strike.

Closed day cares:

  • Pickering Child Care Centre
  • Ajax Child Care Centre
  • Whitby Child Care Centre
  • Gibb Street Child Care Centre
  • Lakewoods Child Care Centre
  • Edna Thomson Child Care Centre

Paramedics are represented by the union, but they are required to keep working and provide essential services during the strike.

The strike hinges on paramedics’ sick leave benefits, the union said in a statement.

“We don’t think it is fair to punish EMS workers for getting sick. Nobody gets sick on purpose, least of all professionals whose job is to help save people’s lives,” said CUPE 1764 president Pauline Hopley.

“We offered many different options including sending the dispute to interest arbitration so an independent third party could help settle the dispute and Durham residents would not be affected by an unnecessary service shutdown, but management refused,” continued Hopley.

The strike also results in a reduction in the Ontario Works program, restrictions at the provincial court office, and a closure of all environmental health offices.

Also, the region’s 40th anniversary celebration scheduled for later in June is postponed.

Durham Region officials said contingency plans are in place for essential services. Updates will be posted on its website durham.ca/strike.