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Kingston The hiring of temporary workers to serve senior citizens will threaten the quality of services, reduce accountability and open the door to wholesale contracting out, warns the union representing over 150 nursing, dietary, clerical and maintenance workers at Fairmount Home, a long term care facility in Kingston. The warning comes as management, with approval from the County of Frontenac, is starting to use a temp agency to replace vacationing registered nursing staff.

We want to warn Fairmount Home residents and their families that essential services, normally provided by long-time registered nursing staff, are being contracted out to a temp agency, says Marilyn Nadeau, president of CUPE 2290 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Our primary concern is to ensure that our residents needs are taken care of by dedicated public employees. The union, concerned about staff turnover and disruptions for residents, is raising public awareness around this important issue. Union negotiators will also fight the move in upcoming contract talks.

Residents deserve care provided by dedicated employees familiar with procedures and the culture and fabric of Fairmount Home, and in tune with the varied and individual needs of residents, says Nadeau. Thats why were calling on members of the community to hold County politicians accountable for this attack on the quality of care, to put an end to this contracting out.

Managements approach to cover off vacation could be just the beginning of the contracting out process, warns Cheri Dobbs, CUPE National Representative. If management was really only concerned about filling in for vacationing staff, they would have called on current registered casual staff to replace vacationing colleagues. To add insult to injury, while many permanent staff vacation requests have not yet been approved, temp employees have already started working shifts at Fairmount.

Studies have shown that temp substitutes often mean more work for the regular employees because they have to teach and supervise these temporary employees. Reliance on such temporary workers can also be disruptive to teamwork among care providers teamwork that comes from long years of working together.

The workers contract with Fairmount Home expired at the end of last year. The union filed for conciliation after management failed to enter into contract negotiations. Conciliation talks are scheduled to begin August 16th.

Hiring outside temps is yet another example of a long list of tactics used by our employer to undermine worker morale, says Dobbs. We are prepared to take all actions to ensure workers rights are respected as we move toward bargaining. Our members are strong, united and determined to fight any and all forms of contracting out.

For further information, please contact:

Cheri Dobbs
CUPE National Representative

Marilyn Nadeau
President, CUPE 2290

James Chai
CUPE Communications