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Employees forced to strike following lockout from Wood Buffalo Housing

PHOTO. CUPE 1505 members picket outside the municipal building on May 14, 2019. Nathalia Cordeau-Hilliard/REPORTER.

Employees of Wood Buffalo Housing (WBH) along with other CUPE 1505 members have been forced to strike.

WBH issued a lockout notice on May 6 after working with the union on a new business model.

The new model would see nearly half of employees laid off and replaced with contractors.

Vice President of CUPE 1505 Ruth Thorne was on the picket lines Tuesday and said those to be laid off were offered a total $888,000 but voted against the buyout.

“We’re fighting for our jobs. We’re not fighting for higher wages. We’re not fighting for anything else. We just want to keep these jobs.”

Thorne said she worries that contract employees may not treat tenants as a priority since it likely won’t be their only job, compared to union members who have created connections with tenants.

She added that she believes there are other ways to save money, but WBH doesn’t seem willing to bargain.

The group will continue to picket at various locations around the region until a solution is found.

Monday they were at the municipal building in Taiganova, then on Franklin Ave. on Tuesday.