BONFIELD, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 16, 2013) - Christmas came early for the families of striking Township of Bonfield workers, thanks to the efforts of their fellow Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) municipal workers from across Ontario.
Over the weekend, a caravan of gift-bearing members of CUPE locals from across the province braved brutal blizzard conditions to ensure every striking Bonfield family would have gifts and a proper holiday dinner.
"When your employer refuses to bargain and resolve your issues, it can seem like the Grinch has stolen Christmas," said Misty Gagne, Chair of CUPE's Ontario Municipal Employees' Coordinating Committee (OMECC), which organized the gift drive and caravan. OMECC is the voice of CUPE members working in the municipal sector in Ontario.
"That's why we planned and organized this event, complete with a 'Roast Beast' supper for everyone to enjoy," she added.
CUPE Locals and individual CUPE members across the province took part in the drive, 'adopting' a striking family and making sure there were gifts for everyone. Most of the gifts and gift-givers were then loaded up on the big, pink CUPE 966 (Region of Peel Municipal Workers) bus.
On arrival, a community feast was held, courtesy of CUPE Local 416 (City of Toronto outside workers), who provided the tools and the beast for a pig roast, and there was even a visit from Santa Claus.
The 16 employees of the Township of Bonfield, members of CUPE 4616, went on strike August 1 after the Township refused to withdraw major concessions that would, if accepted, put good jobs in the community at risk.
"This strike has been tremendously difficult for our members and their families, but the incredible support-both from the community and from our CUPE sisters and brothers across Ontario-has been overwhelming," said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, who accompanied the caravan to Bonfield.
"OMECC's amazing work-especially by Michelle Osborne, who coordinated our work from her home community of Peterborough, will not soon be forgotten," he added.