In this Toronto Star feature article, Trish Crawford sensitively reports the complex and challenging issues facing CUPE members and the clients of Toronto’s Community Living, a non profit agency providing services to thedevelopmentally disabled. Of the 1100 workers, members of CUPE 2191, 60 per cent are not permanent workers.Most are members of visible minority communities - Afro. Asian and Latin American.
CUPE’ Local 2191’s letter to the editor thanks The Star for publishing “real stories about real people” and outlines the Unions’ attempts to negotiate better working conditions that will affect workers and the service to clients.
Work underfunded; Long-standing issues of low wages, increased ‘casualization’ and impact on service need attention
Thanks to Trish Crawford for her feature about our work with individuals who have developmental disabilities supported by Community Living Toronto. We applaud the Star for featuring real people who work in our community.
Crawford has sensitively outlined the challenges that we, as proud members of CUPE Local 2191, are working hard to address. During recent contract negotiations we fought back changes in the workplace that would have further increased the number of casual workers. More than 60 per cent of our 1,100 members now work as casual, part-time or relief workers compared to 25 per cent 10 years ago.
“Casualization” of the labour force directly results in deterioration of the service we provide. It means less stability, inferior training and lack of continuity for the individuals we support.
Developmental service staff are shouldering the burden of years of provincial underfunding through low wages and heavy workloads. Those receiving supports and the frontline workers delivering them are paying the price. It is interesting to note the overwhelming majority of our casual members are women and visible minority persons from Afro, Asian and Latin American communities in Toronto.
Employer groups, advocates, families and unions have repeatedly raised the impact of underfunding on individuals who have developmental disabilities. Despite this the province released a consultation paper that did nothing to address the long-standing issues created by underfunding - low wages, increased “casualization,” high turnover, recruitment challenges, wait lists and the impact on service. Let’s make this an election issue.
Edgar Godoy, Acting President,
CUPE Local 2191, Toronto