PEMBROKE, Ont. – By ratifying their first collective agreement, workers who provide services to adults with developmental disabilities have increased the stability of care provided through Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley (CLUOV).
“This contract offers better service reliability for vulnerable adults, because it offers support and protections to the workers who deliver the services,” said Jennette Surnoskie, president of CUPE Local 5088.
In two voting sessions on Monday, October 21, members of CUPE Local 5088 voted to ratify an agreement that protects the services for supported individuals and provides slight wage increases for 76 developmental services workers.
“The agreement isn’t everything we hoped for, but it does enhance service provision for supported adults by ensuring better continuity of their care,” said President Surnoskie. “With this agreement, we are also challenging the Liberal government’s agenda of cuts and underfunding, which directly hurts the very people who rely on the services we provide.”
Throughout bargaining, developmental services workers maintained that, unless the current Liberal government addresses issues of underfunding, developmental services will continue to undergo cuts to supports and program closures. On the front lines, that means a poorer quality of life for supported adults in terms of fewer community outings and more missed medical appointments for supported adults, along with an overall decrease in quality of life.
“Community Living could do its part to reduce instability in services by joining CUPE in our demands for better government funding for services for people with development disabilities,” continued President Surnoskie.
“Our voices are harder to ignore when we raise them together.”
President Surnoskie also thanked her bargaining committee and all members who worked toward a collective agreement that will result in lower staff turnover. Bargaining lasted into the early hours of Thursday, October 17, past the strike deadline of 12:01 a.m.
“We received such wonderful support from the community and from the family and friends of those we support, that we’re certain we will be able to increase our lobbying efforts for better funding for developmental services in Ontario,” concluded President Surnoskie.
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