Canadian Hearing Society takes step back on openness, while stepping towards a troubling future, warns CUPE 2073.
Today's hastily-convened closed-door annual general meeting of the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) is a step away from transparency and a step towards a troubling future, the president of the union representing CHS staff warned.
"We are concerned and confused about the direction that CHS leadership appears to be going," said CUPE National Representative Sandra Higginson, speaking on behalf of Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 2073), which represents counsellors, literacy instructors, audiologists, speech language pathologists, interpreters/interpreter trainers, clerical support, program coordinators, program assistants, information technology specialists and other staff at 24 CHS office locations across Ontario.
Higginson spoke on behalf of the Local Union, whose members fear reprisals if they speak out publicly. "In the past, staff were always welcome to attend the annual general meeting. This year, we have been told we are not permitted to attend. We are hearing of CHS members whose renewal of membership has been denied in advance of this meeting. This is extremely troubling to us," she added.
CUPE 2073 has been without a contract for years. Efforts by the union to conclude negotiations have consistently been rebuffed by CHS management. "Since its founding in 1940, CHS has been a supporter and an advocate for the culturally Deaf, Oral Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing. Now, in place of cooperation and collaboration, we are feeling ignored and devalued," said Higginson.
"It is heartbreaking for our members, many of whom are either deaf or hard of hearing, to see their contributions to CHS and to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, so devalued by the CHS board and management," she added.