Monday, September 21, 2009

Picket Lines go up at Ottawa Museums

As reported by the CBC and the Canadian Press today, workers walked off the job at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum. The dispute seems to be in part over the use of contract workers. As the worker union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, puts it,

The 420 workers are demanding the same protections that are in place for other museum workers in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. The Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) continues to deny their demands for workplace fairness and protections against contracting out.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization and the War Museum had the highest attendance and brought in more revenue than any other museum or gallery in the National Capital Region last year. Meanwhile, workers' salaries at the two museums are lower than all of the other federal museum workers in the Ottawa/Gatineau – in some cases 40 per cent lower.

According to the museum, certain activities—ironically a few associated with this coming weekend's Quebec Journées de la Culture—will be cancelled, but the museum will stay open. According to the museum's press releases,

CMCC's final offer included increased job security provisions and wage proposals that would see salaries rise by between 12% and 17% over four years. PSAC's latest wage and benefit demands would see salary costs increase upwards of 30% over the same period.

I hope this dispute can be resolved equitably.

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