Sarnia A province-wide comparison of wage scales in the developmental services sector shows that front line staff with Community Living Sarnia are among the lowest paid community living workers in Ontario.
The comparison found that Sarnia community living counsellors earn between $3 to $8 less than staff doing comparable work at other developmental service agencies. The low wage rates for front line staff are the key issue for CUPE 4370 members who are heading into their last bargaining session with their hard-line employer this Friday, prior to a strike deadline of April 23.
The statistics show that we are very low-paid compared to other community living workers. The administrations at these agencies receive the same level of funding from the province as our agency. Yet, they have all been able to provide modest wage increases and avert a strike.
Why is this agency pushing a strike instead of a fair settlement? Asks Pierina Debellis, national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The full-time rate for the most common job class at the Sarnia agency is $14.08. A sampling of the same job class prior to recent negotiated wage increases shows staff earned $17.01 at the Guelph agency, $18.95 in Ajax-Pickering, $22.59 at Ottawa agencies and $18.50 in northern Ontario.
We think this agency administration has a lot of explaining to do about where funding is going, including why they have such a high level of management and administrative staff compared to other community living agencies, says Debellis.
Of 188 employees at Community Living Sarnia, roughly 33 per cent, or 62, are designated management and administration. This figure is high compared to a 20 per cent average at other Ontario developmental services agencies.
Parents and the community are beginning to ask a lot questions about the management of this agency; how dollars are being spent and why front line workers are being treated with such blatant disrespect.
Were going into Fridays negotiations ready to reach a settlement and avert a strike. Unfortunately, for people with developmental disabilities and their families who value the work front line workers do, this agency administration may not share that goal, says Debellis.
For more information, please contact:
Pierina Debellis, CUPE National Representative - (519) 981-5636
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - (416) 578-8774