SAULT STE. MARIE Staff at the Algoma Youth Centre are fighting to keep local control of the rehabilitation and youth detention centre after local Childrens Aid Society and government officials decided to hand it over to a Sudbury organization, Northern Youth Services.
Were going to leaflet the community to warn about the impending transfer that could mean job losses and compromised security in our community, says Trish Andrews, National Representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing workers at the Centre. The province and the Childrens Aid Society of Algoma have agreed to transfer control of the centre to Northern Youth Services, with a head office in Sudbury. Currently, the Algoma Youth Centre is run under the Childrens Aid Society of Algomas authority, with local control.
Our members provide counselling and rehabilitation services to troubled youth at the Algoma Youth Centre, and were concerned about these changes, says Andrews. Many of the young people detained at Algoma Youth Centre have committed serious crimes and the workers have always balanced detention and rehabilitation requirements, while ensuring public safety at all times.
Under this transfer of accountability, all the people who work at the Centre will be laid off and forced to reapply for their jobs. Many will be paid less and have fewer benefits.
The government calls it Making Services Work for People but it really comes down to making services work for the government centralizing administration, cutting jobs and services, removing local accountability, Andrews points out. The Northern Youth Services head office is in Sudbury.
Other communities have rejected government efforts to transfer services under the Making Services Work for People banner. CUPE and Algoma Youth Centre workers will be asking members of the public to contact local politicians and tell them to stop this change before its too late.
Its not too late to stop this from happening, says Andrews. The change is scheduled for June 28th, and if we send a strong message to local politicians we can reverse this transfer of responsibility that could hurt our community.
For further information, please contact:
Trish Andrews, CUPE National Representative
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications