Restorative justice caseworkers eye possible strike as bargaining with the province falls apart

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says bargaining has fallen apart for restorative justice caseworkers after the province failed to deliver a wage proposal.

CUPE says the seven employees are paid about 56 per cent of what probation officers earn for doing similar work and requiring similar qualifications, and are looking for a wage increase of roughly 25 to 30 per cent.

Local 4764 President Denise Russell points to a gender pay gap in a press release as probation officers are overwhelmingly male while restorative justice caseworkers are predominantly female.

She says funding hasn't changed over twelve years, and while they don't look forward to disrupting restorative justice services, they want fairness for justice workers.

The caseworkers passed a unanimous strike vote in May, which CUPE says could leave restorative justice clients and communities without options and interrupt court dates.

Forty-eight hour strike notice can be filed fourteen days after the conciliator files their report.