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TORONTO - The union representing striking workers at Madison Housing and Support Services found open boxes and bags containing personal information on clients and confidential files with medication and treatment specifics abandoned by the roadside yesterday.

We were about to set up a picket line at one of our homes, when we made the disturbing discovery, says Joanne Martin, National Representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 14 workers offering supportive housing and counselling services to mental health clients. We took pictures of the open boxes and bags, left for anyone to see, and then moved them under lock and key to protect the privacy of our clients.

The disregard for our clients privacy shown by this employer is typical of their selfish management style, says Joanne Martin. Executive Director Nancy Roxborough, who drives a Mercedes 4X4, has taken good care of herself with funds provided by the Ministry of Health, while her budget for next year contains no increases for front line workers.

In 1994, as Director of Colborne Community Services, problems under Nancy Roxboroughs directorship lead to a damning operational review by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Members of CUPE Local 3798.1 went on strike Tuesday after failing to reach a settlement over the holiday weekend. Concessions demanded by the employer include eliminating job security, gutting standard hours of work and benefits, and severely restricting the ability of Union officers to represent the workers. Front line workers at Madison received a 1% increase in their first contract in 1998, while the new Executive Director earns 10.4% more than her predecessor. The 2000-2001 budget contains a 4.9% increase for management and zero for front line workers.

For further information, please contact:

Joanne Martin, CUPE National Rep.

(416) 292-3999, (416) 571-1256

Rick Alexander, President, Local 3798

(416) 833-2595 (cell)

Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications

(416) 292-3999

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