Salvation Army shelter readies for strike

12/31/1969 07:00 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST

The Salvation Army in Ottawa is assuring those who use its services will not be left in the cold if about 60 workers carry out their strike threat Friday afternoon.

The Salvation Army Booth Centre, a homeless shelter at 171 George Street, houses about 150 homeless men per night.

There is some uncertainty, though, as 60 of its workers represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada plan to strike at 3 p.m. Friday.

That scare will not affect those who frequent the Booth Centre, 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, adding he is disappointed the strike looked inevitable.

"Of course, the safety and concern of those we serve is of paramount importance."

Homeless support workers as strike is pending

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

That backing has helped PSAC push for a $5-per-hour wage hike, which they say would reach a salary similar to workers at other local shelters.

The Salvation Army, which argues the difference is only $2-4 per 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.

Through all this labour tension, one homeless man named George said he understood the worker's plight.

"I don't blame them. 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."