Carleton Place, Ont. – Workers at Community Living Association Lanark are seeking a fair deal to prevent a strike that will impact people with intellectual disabilities in Carleton Place, Smith Falls, Almonte, Perth and the rest of Lanark County. The 90 social service workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are facing a lockout or strike as early as July 3 at 12:01 am.
“We care for and advocate for people we support every day,” said Karen Bowes, CUPE 1521-02 unit chair. “Yet our agency refuses to bargain fairly with us and is more interested in cutting our benefits and denying us a pension plan that’s available to many ACL workers across Ontario.”
The lack of a pension, concession demands by the agency and wages are the major issues in bargaining talks. “Instead of tapping into existing and available provincial funding to improve working and earning conditions that will benefit the agency, management is fighting with us every step of the way,” continued Bowes. “Workers at this agency are falling behind because management is not taking advantage of funding that is available to address issues of low wages, recruitment and staff retention.”
“We don’t want a strike, we just want a fair deal so we can continue to work for the people we support,” continued Bowes. “We’re urging the board and management to come back to the bargaining table with a clear intention of reaching a deal that will prevent a strike that will hurt the very people we help every day.”
The workers voted 90 per cent in favour of a strike if a fair deal is not reached with their employer. Their last contract expired on March 31, 2009. Mediation talks are scheduled for Thursday, July 2.
For further information, please contact:
Karen Bowes, CUPE 1521-02 Unit Chair, 613-264-7890
Doreen Beath, CUPE National Representative, 613-552-6826
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999