CUPE Local 2049 members are back at work this morning for the first time in four months after the Children’s Aid Society of Nipissing and Parry Sound agreed to binding arbitration. The labour dispute really ended late on Friday when the agreed upon return-to-work protocol was signed by CAS executive director Gisele Hebert. CUPE, provincial mediators, and the provincial government were all in agreement about the need to resolve outstanding issues and reach a new collective agreement through binding arbitration.

CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn says throughout the four months of this lockout, CUPE members have always had two goals in their sights: reaching a fair collective agreement for unionized workers at the CAS and restoring high-quality child protection services in the region. Hahn says as their members return to the jobs that they love, they’ll continue supporting them to ensure they can do so in a way that respects their skills and their commitment to their communities.

Local 2049 President Debbie Hill says CUPE members are thrilled their solidarity paid off and at the prospect of returning to work. Hill says they couldn’t have made it through without the support from the community, from their union or without the incredible solidarity of their members.