Dozens rally in support of Hearing Society workers in Windsor

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Talks break off, strike continues for Canadian Hearing Society workers

Dozens of people picketed outside the Canadian Hearing Society in Windsor Friday to support striking workers at the service provider for deaf and hearing impaired Ontarians.

Unionized workers at the Hearing Society have been off the job since March 6. That's meant services for deaf and hearing impaired people across the province have been harder to come by, impacting their ability to access services such as sign language interpreters for medical appointments.

Friday's rally was organized by CUPE and attracted fellow union members attending a municipal workers conference at Caesars Windsor this weekend.

Current and former clients of the Hearing Society showed up to support the service providers they have been unable to access since the beginning of the month.

"I came all the way from Chatham today to be here for support," said Michelle Barron through an interpreter. 

She is deaf and a former board member of the Canadian Hearing Society for Chatham. Barron said the hour-long drive to attend the rally was worth it after years of both working with the Society and accessing its services. 

"I can't just sit at home and watch this happening," said Barron. "It's not just the interpreting but audiologists... all the staff at Canadian Hearing Society."

In a statement, management at the Canadian Hearing Society said negotiations continued on Friday. Both CUPE and the CHS say they will not comment publicly on how things are going at the bargaining table.

On the picket line, spirits remain high.

"We're still here and we're still strong and we'll continue to be here as long as needed," said striking sign language interpreter and picket captain Courtney Cockburn.