Sally Ann shelter workers set to strike

Just days before Christmas, 60 workers at a downtown shelter are poised to go on strike because they say their employer the Salvation Army isnt paying them enough.

“We have members who actually go over to the food bank,” said Larry Rousseau of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing the Booth Centre workers.

Kitchen and maintenance staff make $11.50 an hour, while social workers make $18-$19, said Rousseau. The contract ran out at midnight Monday.

“It’s very simple. It’s a question of money,” said Rousseau.

At $11.50 per hour, if youre a single mother and youve got three or four kids, youre not making ends meet. So its really sad.

About a month ago, 70% of the employees shot down an offer of a 2% wage hike in the first year, 2.5% the next year and 3% in the final year, including a $500 bonus.

“The Salvation Army values its employees and the important contribution they make in caring for our vulnerable clients, which is why we put together an equitable and fair offer for our unionized employees,” said Sally Ann spokesman Michael Maidment.

In 1997, Booth Centre employees walked off the job seeking equal pay with Sally Ann workers in other cities.

Maidment said a contingency plan is in place in case there is a strike.

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