Talks Break off Between NAPE and Choices for Youth

For Immediate Release:

Thursday, March 31, 2022

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Talks broke off last evening between NAPE and Choices for Youth (The Lilly). NAPE represents and unites nine (9) workers at The Lilly, a 14-unit congregate living supportive housing facility for youth operated by Choices for Youth.

“Our members at The Lilly have come to the table for the past year with a willingness to listen and work towards compromise, but the employer refuses to take the steps necessary to reach a deal that will be acceptable to our members,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “At this stage, it’s more than unfortunate, it’s infuriating.”

Today is day 17 of the strike.

“There was hope we could get there last night; we presented some good options in the spirit of reaching a deal,” said Earle. “But the employer, after dragging our team along again, refused to budge. I have never seen anything like this in all my years of bargaining; the disrespectful and meanspirited approach taken by this employer to divide and conquer is nothing short of shameful.”

“We had to tell the group of youth mentors the news this morning; that wasn’t an easy thing to do,” said Earle. “The members talked it out, held a secret ballot vote, and voted 100% in favour of continuing the strike.”

“This employer says it doesn’t have the money to bridge the small gap that remains at the table, but they apparently have all kinds of money to uproot youth and put them up at a hotel, partially unsupervised and at great expense, for the past 17 days,” said Earle. “They don’t have money for these workers, but they have more than enough to post new HR and management jobs during this strike. This is an organization with 25 plus managers and coordinators – one for every four or five frontline workers.”

“This is not about money – this is about union-busting and trying to break these workers,” continued Earle. “Well, our message is clear – these workers will not break and their union will do everything in its power to support them for as long as it takes to get a fair deal. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with these brave, determined, and dedicated workers.”

Last week, Choices for Youth issued Record of Employment (ROE) papers to each of the striking workers, which is outside the norm during a strike.

NAPE sees this as yet another attempt to intimidate these workers.

“Since square one and at every turn since, this employer has pushed back against workers trying to democratize their workplace,” said Earle. “Issuing these ROEs is yet another heavy-handed attempt to keep these workers in line. I am constantly astounded by the lengths this so-called progressive and community-minded organization will go.”

“If I were a donor, whether the provincial or federal government, a business, or an individual, I would have serious concerns about where my money was going and how it was being used by this organization,” concluded Earle.

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