Sudbury – Showing disapproval for a management style they say denigrates workers and compromises services for intellectually disabled individuals, front line staff at Sudbury Developmental Services have narrowly ratified a new contract with the agency.
Members of CUPE 2599 voted on the tentative contract last week. Although satisfied with the terms of the new contract that includes a 4 per cent wage increase over two years and no concessions, only 55 per cent of those who voted approved the deal.
“The agency administration would be well advised to assess the ratification vote as blatant disapproval of the management style here at the Sudbury agency. CUPE 2599 are also upset by the Sudbury administrator’s role in forcing front line staff at Espanola Community Living out on strike,” says Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario social service co-ordinator Kathy Johnson.
Developmental services residential and vocational support counsellors — who are members of CUPE 2462 (Community Living Espanola) — began strike action at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 14 after mediation talks with that agency administration failed.
Community Living Espanola has been in turmoil since problems with the previous administration surfaced more than a year ago and the executive director of Sudbury Developmental Services was appointed to run the agency. Since the appointment, labour relations and worker morale at the Espanola agency have deteriorated steadily. There is also a concern that services now provided through Community Living Espanola may be moved to the Sudbury agency.
Although negotiations with both CUPE locals occurred in the same timeframe, the Espanola workers faced 103 pages of employer-tabled concessions and a dismal wage increase offer.
“The parents and families of the individuals who receive program support through the Espanola agency are all asking why the same administrator pushed a strike at Community Living Espanola, but negotiated a fair settlement in Sudbury.
“There is real concern that there is a hidden agenda to move the Espanola services to Sudbury. Not only would this be a loss of services and jobs for the Espanola community, but also it would pose hardship for many aging parents and cause havoc for the individuals now receiving support,” says Johnson.
For more information contact:
Kathy Johnson, CUPE Ontario Social Service Co-ordinator - (416) 292-3999 X248
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - (416) 578-8774