TORONTO Home care and support workers from Senior Peoples Resources in North Toronto (S.P.R.I.N.T), represented by Local 3896 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), will enter the final stages of contract negotiations with the help of a Ministry of Labour conciliator, on Thursday, September 30th. The union hopes to avoid a strike that could disrupt essential services to seniors and people with disabilities.
Many of our members have not had a raise in over 10 years, says Kelly OSullivan, president of CUPE Local 3896. The employer must take these talks seriously and make an offer that addresses the key issues to avoid a strike. Wages are the main outstanding issue in bargaining. When you factor in inflation and cost of living increases, incomes have actually declined over the past decade.
S.P.R.I.N.T has so far refused to put forward a fair contract offer in negotiations, citing lack of money for a wage increase. However, management continues to spend money on outside consultants and administrative services. Management also maintains a capital reserve fund of $240,000 for special projects.
It is managements job to ensure that the people who provide essential services to seniors are taken care of as well, says Joanne Martin, CUPE national representative. Our members work very hard and without our help, many of our seniors could not continue to live at home with the independence and dignity they deserve.
The workers provide home care, respite care, supportive housing, meals on wheels, transportation, community dining, social services and the adult day programs to over 4,000 seniors and people with disabilities in North Toronto. While governments have promised extra funding for home care, workers continue to bear the burden of under-funding through low wages and non-existent or limited health benefits, says OSullivan.
For more information:
President, CUPE 3896
(416) 529 9600 (cell)
CUPE National Representative
(416) 571-1256 (cell)