(Halifax) Health care workers who work with mentally and physically challenged residents at the Halifax County Regional Rehabilitation Centre (HCRRC) say Peter Christie and the Department of Community Services is holding their fate in their hands.
The workers, members of CUPE Local 1028, are trying to negotiate the terms of a new contract which will also dictate how and who ends up working at a new facility.
HCRRC is slated to close with some residents and workers moving over to a temporary facility at Sunrise Manor. The ministry has plans to build a brand new mental health facility at an as yet unnamed location and time.
CUPE National Rep. Linda Thurston-Neeley says talks broke off this week, after the employer told the union that they simply have no mandate - and no budget - from Minister Christie for the temporary facility. The union has applied for conciliation.
Says Thurston-Neeley, We have 86 mental health workers whose lives are in limbo and we desperately need the minister to give some direction to the Rehab Centre. Weve already lost 44 members through downsizing, and these were all long-term employees.
Thurston-Neeley says the temporary facility will only have approximately 15 beds and that means more people will lose their jobs.
CUPE says the workers clearly qualify for the provincial governments Transition Support Program but the employer needs a directive from Peter Christie.
Says Thurston-Neeley, The government is closing adult residential facilities in Nova Scotia without a clear plan of where mental health clients and the workers who care for them are going to end up. Right now there is a shortage of facilities for the mentally challenged in this province.
Linda Thurston-Neeley, CUPE National Representative
(902) 455-4180 (o)
Carolyn Rothwell, President CUPE Local 1028
(902) 434-2394 (h)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative
(902) 455-4180 (o)