NEWS

Salvation Army shelter readies for strike

01/06/2012 09:00 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST

About 60 unionized Salvation Army workers went on strike in Ottawa on Friday, but the charitable organization has assured the homeless they will not be left in the cold.

The strike by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada will not affect those who frequent the Booth Centre, a homeless shelter at 171 George Street that houses about 150 homeless men every night, according to Michael Maidment, a Salvation Army spokesman in Ottawa.

"We will stay open and we will do that with our existing staff and management team," Maidment said. "Of course, the safety and concern of those we serve is of paramount importance."

Homeless support workers on strike

Homeless men whom CBC News spoke with sided with the workers, who entered a strike position Dec. 20, and complimented the care they received at the centre.

"I don't blame them," said a man who only identified himself as George. "They should have equal parity with the Union Mission and the Shepherd's of Good Hope," he said. "They do exactly the same work just as well."

The PSAC is seeking a $5-an-hour wage hike, which they say would provide a salary similar to those paid workers at other local shelters.

The Salvation Army, which argues the difference is only $2-$4 an hour, said it is willing to go to binding arbitration to settle the dispute, but added the union has not formally responded to that request.

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