The following letter was sent to Choices for Youth Staff and Board of Directors on April 13:

Dear Choices for Youth Board and Staff,

I write to you today on behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) and our 25,000 members, including nine of our newest members who work at Choices for Youth (The Lilly).

We have now entered day 29 of the strike with Choices for Youth.

Recently, (April 11) you would have received an email from Sheldon Pollett about the strike and the actions of Choices to resolve the strike. I honestly and truly wish that the actions of Senior Management at Choices matched the flowery language of that letter.

Mr. Pollett writes:

“We continue to work with the union to ensure fair and equitable distribution of resources for the nine employees on strike and across all frontline positions within our organization. We look forward to bringing the labour disruption to resolution and welcoming these valuable employees back to work as soon as possible.”


“Our focus is on continuing discussions with the bargaining unit to reach an agreement…”

Despite these assertions, we have not heard a word from the employer, either directly or via the Conciliation officer, since talks broke off on March 30. Not one word.

In an effort to end the strike, NAPE offered to pay the full cost for an independent classification and wage review for the two Team Lead positions – the final sticking point in negotiations. The Employer declined this offer. Mr. Pollett fails to mention that in his letter.

Outside of the team lead issue, NAPE is not asking for anything over and above what any other worker has received in terms of pay. This issue was clearly raised and framed in such a way by Mr. Pollett as an attempt to divide workers at Choices. To be clear, NAPE is fighting for fairness and respect for all workers – when workers win at the table, it lifts everyone up.

Mr. Pollett states:

“In 2020, Choices for Youth had an external party conduct a comprehensive review of our compensation structure for all frontline workers.”

After almost a decade of no pay raises for front-line workers, this review was conducted only after workers began to organize and unionize. NAPE has asked for a copy of the 2020 review, but the employer has declined to share it.

Have you seen the review? Are you sure you’re getting what you deserve?

Our members at The Lily care deeply about the work they do and the youth in their care. They have put so much of themselves into this organization, and they want Choices to grow and thrive. For them, this is about dignity, respect, and a fair say in their working conditions – free from fear of reprisal.

You know the strikers at The Lilly; you have worked alongside them in some extremely difficult moments. They just want a fair deal.

I hope this is helpful in clarifying the situation as it currently stands.

If you would like to get more info, you can reach out to us at any time for a chat (confidentially).

You can also get more information on our strike webpage at:

To the workers at Choices – thank you for your support, patience, and understanding through all of this. Thank you for all that you do every day on the front lines.

To the Board members – we are ready, willing, and able to get back to the table to reach a deal when your Senior Management Team is willing to do the same. We feel as if the actions of your Senior Management Team have caused tremendous (and unnecessary) reputational damage to your organization. Your fellow Choices for Youth Board members are resigning. Community organizations are pausing their collaborative efforts with Choices. Events are being postponed. Funders and former staff are reaching out to our union to express their concerns about the Choices organization’s approach to bargaining, their workers, and this strike.

This has gone on for 29 days too long.


Jerry Earle

NAPE President