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Caring professionals from three agencies that support children and adults with developmental disabilities and provide numerous other community services are on strike today, November 1, in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, B.C.

The striking workers, including members of CUPE 1936, will be protesting outside BC Liberal MLA Douglas Horne’s office at 130 Brew Street, Port Moody from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m..

Their message to the BC Liberal government: stop putting vulnerable families last!

Since 2004, the BC Liberals have slashed $300 million in funding for programs that support the developmentally disabled, vulnerable women, at-risk youth, and children and infants in community-based programs across the province. The striking workers are calling on the government to start funding the sector properly.

The following Tri-Cities not-for-profit community agencies are on strike and behind picket lines today:

Community Ventures Society - #200 - 1024 Ridgeway Ave.
Coquitlam, B.C.– supports children and adults with developmental disabilities. CVS workers are represented by CUPE 1936-06.

SHARE Family & Community Services Society – 25 King Edward Street, Coquitlam, B.C.- is a non-profit community based organization providing programs in response to the social needs of the residents of the Tri-Cities, New Westminster and adjacent communities. These workers are represented by the Health Sciences Association of B.C.(HSA).

Community Integration Services Society - 2175 Mary Hill Road, Port Coquitlam, B.C.- offers day programs for adults with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. The 40 CISS life skill workers at CISS are members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

Community social service workers have faced a decade of declining wages. The current starting wage for a residential care worker is $15.54 an hour. In 2002, it was $16.83. Factoring in inflation, that’s a 22 per cent wage cut over the past decade.

There are 15,000 unionized workers in the community social services sector, represented by BCGEU, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, HEU, HSA and five other unions, which together make up the Community Social Services Bargaining Association.

Essential services levels are being maintained during this job action.