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Elizabeth Fry Society Workers Ready, But Reluctant, to Strike

Service providers for women have been in negotiations for months

by Ben Sichel

From the website of NSGEU Local 68: "NSGEU Local 68 members Heather McKenzie (left) and Lynn Yetman take time out on their lunch break on Wednesday, June 27, to call for fairer treatment by their employer, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia."
From the website of NSGEU Local 68: "NSGEU Local 68 members Heather McKenzie (left) and Lynn Yetman take time out on their lunch break on Wednesday, June 27, to call for fairer treatment by their employer, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia."

HALIFAX - Four employees at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia say they're ready for a strike. 

The women work providing "services to women — young or old — who have the potential to come into conflict with the law," says the society's website.

"It also provides support to women who are experiencing physical, emotional or financial difficulties that may be the result of addictive behaviors or living in abusive situations," says the site.

According to the website of Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU) Local 68, which represents the workers, employees "haven’t had a raise in more than five years but their workload is constantly increasing."

After months of negotiations the employees were still without a contract. Last month they voted unanimously in favour of a strike.

However, the employees "are reluctant to exercise their right to strike because they know how disruptive it could be to the women they’re supporting," says the NSGEU website.

The workers will be holding a picket Thursday from 12-1 p.m. in front of the Nova Scotia Legal Aid office on Wyse Road in Dartmouth, in order to pressure the Society's board of directors into settling the contract dispute. (Several people on the board work at Nova Scotia Legal Aid.)

The workers will be joined by NSGEU members from other locals and are encouraging supportive members of the public to join them as well. 


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