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NEWMARKET York Region health care workers, employees of the regions Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), walked off the job at noon today (Friday, August 6) because their employer is demanding contract concessions.

It is the same old story with health care workers being expected to work for less and less, says Dawn Trott, a CCAC service coordinator and the elected chairperson of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 905s CCAC unit. “The York Region CCAC received $4.7 million in additional funding from the provincial government in July and CCAC managers take home six-figure salaries and enjoy superior benefits, but they are still pushing to reduce our modest incomes.

The union says it tried everything to avoid a shutdown and achieve a collective agreement, including delaying job action long past the legal strike deadline of July 22.

These problems started with the Harris government which wanted to put a lot of health care dollars into the hands of a few and reduce the wages and benefits of front-line workers and reduce their numbers, says Jim Keenan, a CUPE staff representative.CCAC management in York Region are still trying to carry out that agenda, even though we have had a change in government and they have more funding than they did before. Where is the accountability here?

The 92 employees, who serve 18,000 clients a year, work in three CCAC offices in the region and in satellite offices attached to Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and York Central Hospital. They include team assistants, service coordinators, case managers, payroll and accounting staff, Information Technology specialists, information and referral specialists, and receptionists. Every day we help very ill people, says Trott. We talk to patients, families, doctors, nurses, and hospitals to get help for people who desperately need it.

We are completely united when it comes to this job action, says Trott. We have no alternative because of the demands of the York Region CCAC.

For further information, please contact:

Dawn Trott, CCAC, 905-806-1231

Jim Keenan, Staff Representative, 705-790-0056

Shannon McManus, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999, ext. 222