MILTON, Ont. – Residential and life skills counsellors, who provide program supports to deaf developmentally disabled youth and adults at Milton’s Bob Rumball Association for the Deaf (BRAD) — now in first contract negotiations — say they are prepared to fight for workplace equity, fair wages and respect, denied many deaf workers.
Some of the 90 employees of BRAD represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have not had a wage increase in nearly 10 years. Others earn wages well below the developmental service sector average and coworkers, doing similar jobs, earn vastly different rates of pay.
The social workers provide a professional level of community-based and group home care, including job and life skills counseling, to high needs deaf youth and adult individuals with a developmental disability and supports for their families.
“We want recognition and respect for the valuable work we do providing quality supports for challenging individuals who have multiple disabilities. Our employer has the opportunity — in these negotiations — to show leadership and put into practice workplace equity for deaf workers by reaching a contract settlement that includes a fair wage increase and benefits appropriate to the needs of BRAD employees,” says CUPE 4763 president Tom Wall.
Resolving several outstanding issues in bargaining would allow the BRAD negotiators to show leadership in employment equity practices that deaf workers have been waiting for, for many years, says Wall. These key issues include:
➢ Providing partial hearing employees with paid benefits for hearing aid batteries;
➢ Providing part-time employees working full time hours full health benefits;
➢ Developing a rights protocol for workers injured on the job to return to work;
➢ Negotiating a fair wage increase.
CUPE 4763 members will be taking a strike vote today.
“While it is our goal to reach a negotiated settlement and avoid a labour dispute, we are ready to fight for fairness in these contract talks,” says Wall.
CUPE will provide an ASL interpreter for any media requesting an interview.
Tom Wall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact:
Humberto da Silva CUPE National Representative 416-839-9550
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-578-8774 COPE491/EW