STURGEON FALLS, Ont. – Developmental services and personal support workers at Community Living West Nipissing, members of Local 4710 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), face a management-imposed lockout or strike deadline of May 2, 2009, after their employer asked the ministry of Labour to start the countdown to a legal strike or lockout.
“We are doing our very best to negotiate a contract settlement without a work stoppage,” said Marie Stevens, CUPE 4710 spokesperson. “We still have many outstanding items to discuss, but management pulled the trigger to start the clock ticking towards a shutdown that would hurt the very people we are working to help.”
The workers help individuals with a development disability to live actively and visibly in area communities, providing essential supports and professional care and social services. A lockout or strike affecting the 93 CUPE members would suspend developmental services in Sturgeon Falls and area, including Verner, Field, Lavigne, Cache Bay and River Valley. Two days of mediation talks have been scheduled for April 30 and May 1.
“What we are looking for is a fair settlement, in line with recent contracts reached by Association for Community Living workers in Espanola, Haliburton, South Huron and Superior-Greenstone, among others,” said CUPE national representative Fran Ludwick. “So far management at this agency has been unwilling to meet this reasonable request, even though they receive similar funding from the Ontario government.”
“The last thing we want is a lockout or strike,” said Stevens. “We are committed to go back to the bargaining table and hammer out an agreement, but it needs to be one that’s fair to our members and the people we care for.”
For further information, please contact:
Fran Ludwick, CUPE National Representative, 705-474-9765, 705-358-0663 (cell)
Marie Stevens, CUPE 4710 spokesperson, 705-499-6927 (cell)
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999