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Toronto - In the last provincial budget, the Tory government committed an additional

$35 million in funding province-wide to address the low wages paid to workers employed by Associations for Community Living (ACLs). But so far, the share of the money allowed the Fort Frances and District Association for Community Living, that could be used to end a bitter strike over wages, has not filtered down to the agency. The developmental support workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 65, who provide a variety of services to people with developmental disabilities have been on strike since May 9.

“Tory ministers are quick to grab a 36 per cent wage increase for themselves. But, they sure are slow in providing the promised funding for an increase in the wages of ACL workers. That funding, that the Tories committed in the budget, is long overdue. And, we are saying to the minister show us the money. Its unconscionable that the minister has helped prolong this dispute and hurt vulnerable people, by not providing the budget money sooner, says Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Ryan will be among the guest speakers at a rally/parade in support of the workers in

Fort Frances on Monday, September 10, 2001 at 5 p.m. at 340 Scott St. The parade will proceed from the Scott Street rally to the Hudson Drive Local 65 picket location.

Ryan points out that the clients have suffered as a result of the ministerial stall. “There are clients that have been moved into group homes where they are not getting the level of care they need. Some have been moved from their homes into hospital facilities. And, because they have been there for more than the three months allowed, they are in danger of being sent out of their communities to other facilities,” says Ryan, who has recently contacted the Social Services Minister, John Baird, requesting to speak with him about expediting the promised funding.

Last year a KPMG study (sponsored by employer groups) identified ACL workers as being paid 25% less than social service workers in other sectors doing comparable work. The report found the gap is causing a crisis in ACLs province-wide as there is a high turnover in staff resulting in added stress on our members and on the clients they work with.

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For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774