Labour Media release

Release: Bryony House staff on the verge of strike or lock-out

February 9, 2021

Bryony House Staff on the Verge of Strike or Lock-Out

HALIFAX, NS – Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada employed by Bryony House, which is a 24-bed shelter in Halifax, is on the verge of going on strike or being locked out by management as labour tensions continue to escalate.

The union local that represents 23 workers have been bargaining since June 2019. One major issue remains: The voice of the women and children on the Board of Directors. As established in the 1990’s, the Bryony House Board of Directors reserves three positions out of seventeen to be filled by staff representatives. These seats provide a voice for the workers and the clients of the shelters which are women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

Colleen Coffey, PSAC’s Regional Executive Vice President for the Atlantic Region, explains the sticking point: “To this day, I still can’t comprehend why an Executive Director of a women’s shelter would be so steadfast in trying to silence its staff; people who deal directly in assisting women and children fleeing domestic abuse. Their expertise and voices should be valued and respected, not silenced.”

Coffey goes on to explain the troubling pattern: “There’s a clear pattern here where Management would make baseless claims as to why staff representatives should be excluded from sharing their expertise on the Board of Directors. At every turn, the union responded with facts and debunked their frivolous assertions.”

The union will continue to put pressure on the Board of Directors, will escalate its political campaign and is urging politicians of all levels and community affiliations to support the voice of the clients and workers.

– 30 –