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GUELPH, Ont. — Community Living Guelph Wellington has started the clock ticking toward a lockout of more than 350 front line developmental services workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

At the end of the last week, the employer requested a “no board” report from the provincially-appointed conciliator. A legal strike/lockout date comes 17 days after the report is issued sometime this week.

“We do not understand why our employer is forcing us toward a disruption in services and supports for the individuals and families who need us,” said Joanne Smithers, president of CUPE 4392. “We have been trying to negotiate a fair collective agreement and now, all of a sudden, we’re facing the possibility of being out on the street.”

Workers at Community Living Guelph Wellington were part of a massive lobby campaign involving unions, employers, parents and families, that resulted in a provincial government decisions to add $200 million in new funding over the next four years. More than half is targeted at improving wages, yet, to date the employer has tabled a wage offer that falls well short of the pattern established by other recent collective agreements in the sector.

“We have worked hard to move beyond the days when 1% was seen as an acceptable increase,” Smithers said. “Not only is our employer insulting us with that offer, they are trying to change our hours so that jobs currently considered full-time would become part-time.” Other issues on the table include a real pension plan, sick leave and health and safety.

Smithers says she hopes Community Living Guelph Wellington management come to their senses before the next mediation date, scheduled for July 5, and come to the table prepared to try to reach a fair collective agreement. The local is also planning to hold two parent information meetings on July 3, one at 4:30 p.m. in Fergus and one in the evening in Guelph. Details will be announced once they are confirmed.


For more information, contact:

Joanne Smithers, President, CUPE 4392, 519-323-2396; 519-820-5945 (cell)

Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142