Durham Region’s 1,600 inside workers have walked off the job Thursday after contract negotiations broke down.

Daycare workers, public health inspections, traffic operations, and other workers represented by CUPE Local 1764 started the work stoppage at 6 a.m.

Negotiations continued until midnight, but the union notified its members just after 1 a.m. that talks had broken down.

 

Six of the region’s directly operated child-care centres won’t be open.

Closed day cares:

  • Pickering Child Care Centre
  • Ajax Child Care Centre
  • Whitby Child Care Centre
  • Gibb Street Child Care Centre
  • Lakewoods Child Care Centre
  • Edna Thomson Child Care Centre

Paramedics are represented by the union, but they are required to keep working and provide essential services during the strike.

The strike hinges on paramedics’ sick leave benefits, says the union in a press release.

“We don’t think it is fair to punish EMS workers for getting sick. Nobody gets sick on purpose, least of all professionals whose job is to help save people’s lives,” said CUPE 1764 president Pauline Hopley.

“We offered many different options including sending the dispute to interest arbitration so an independent third party could help settle the dispute and Durham residents would not be affected by an unnecessary service shutdown, but management refused,” continued Hopley.

The strike also results in a reduction in the Ontario Works program, restrictions at the provincial court office, and a closure of all environmental health offices.

Also, the region’s 40th anniversary celebration scheduled for later in June is postponed.

Durham Region officials said contingency plans are in place for essential services. Updates will be posted on its website durham.ca/strike.