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(Peterborough) The union representing 57 staff at the Peterborough YWCA is worried that cuts to staff hours and services will jeopardize the safety of the women and children who rely on those services, and of workers at the facilities.

We want Peterborough to know that direct services are going to be affected by the budget cuts our board is making, says Kim Allen, president of CUPE Local 3521. This community needs the services and programmes we deliver, such as shelter and transitional support for abused women and children, food boxes, and counselling. We are losing staff hours in our shelters, and key programmes are being cut back. Some of these services are already at the breaking point and cannot sustain these cuts without creating safety risks for the clients and for the workers.

The union says that budget cuts are being made without any consultation involving frontline staff. We recognize that provincial underfunding for the last several years has created serious financial problems, says Nancy Stockton, vice-president of Local 3521. But the absence of communication between board and staff means that the board is making very serious decisions in a vacuum, without the benefit of our input.

Staff have also expressed concern that management is looking into opening a new group home for girls, at a time when existing services are being slashed. Here is a prime example of the sort of thing that creates a crisis of confidence among our members, says Allen. We wonder if the board has thought this through carefully but of course we dont know, because there is no process for our input. The union is seeking staff representation at the board level, as is common practice with many social service agencies.


For more information:
Kim Allen, president, CUPE Local 3521, (705) 743-3526, ext. 119
Nancy Stockton, vice-president, CUPE Local 3521, (705) 743-1919
Brian Blakeley, CUPE national representative, (705) 743-0600 (office)
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications, (416) 738-4329 (cell)