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Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


Salvation Army goes on strike

Sixty unionized workers at the Salvation Army Booth Centre went on strike at 3:00 pm today.

The Booth Centre provides emergency shelter and food to homeless men in Ottawa.

PSAC Local 73100 members are demanding a wage increase which would bring them up to parity with their counterparts at the Shepherds of Good Hope and the Union Mission. The difference in pay is about $2.50 to $5 per hour.

Frankly, I was shocked a couple of years ago to discover how poorly paid the front line workers at the Shepherds were, and I’m absolutely appalled to hear that the Salvation Army workers earn significantly less.

Some workers at the Booth Centre earn as little as $11.50 per hour, while the highest paid social worker makes just $18 per hour.

There are those who believe people who do this kind of work should do so out of the kindness of their hearts. This, incidentally, is the same argument that was used to keep nurses underpaid for so many years. Maybe “the kindness of their hearts” is what motivates people to work with the downtrodden, the poor, the sick, the hungry and the homeless – but they should still be adequately compensated for that work! Otherwise what are we saying? If your work is worth doing, you should do it for free?

Wages are how we show respect for the value of people’s work in this society. By paying these workers such an inadequate and insulting salary, we’re saying a great deal about how little value we place on them, and on the people they serve.

9 comments to Salvation Army goes on strike

  • I have been a supporter of the Salvation army my whole life. My dad was fed by them in New York during the war when he was passing through as a poor RAF recruit ant he supported them all his life because of that. I might have to change my mind now after realizing how little they respect the people working for them. I realize that like all charities they face grave cost problems but taking out your difficulties on the back of the lowest workers is not the way to go forward. I wonder how much the Brass at the Sally anne gets paid for their time and I’m going to find out if I can.

  • sm

    I am also informed by my high school kid who is in the GSA that they are not gay friendly in any way.

  • That’s revolting. Good for them for demanding pay equity. I don’t support the SA though, They run re-education camps for parents to send their gay youth to. They directly contribute to the problems faced by queer runaways, and queer youth suicide.

  • I had no idea. I find it disturbing that a municipally-funded shelter is allowed to have discriminatory anti-queer policies. I wonder if those policies translate into actual anti-queer practice on the ground. I know some front-line workers in some faith-based organizations find ways to work around some of the official policies they find objectionable.

    • I know two front line workers personally, one is totally non discriminatory and accepting, the other counsels re-education but would never do anything *she* considers to be actively discriminatory to a person in need. The problem is that she doesn’t recognize that counselling re-education while feeding a street kid who is on the streets because their parents kicked them out for being queer *is* hurting that kid. One is a liberal Christian, the other evangelical – guess who is who!

  • Minimum wage here in the US is just over 8 dollars an hour, not enough to live on. I’m a social worker and I advise the new students who come to us each year as interns not to depend on this as a profession if they want to live well. The truth is, we SAY we value the helping professions but the reality is that a good quarterback is so much more valuable than a good social worker.