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VANCOUVER - The Community Social Service Employees’ Association (CSSEA) has told member-employers across the province to refuse to pay residential care workers and ‘equivalent’ classifications their October 1, 2002, wage increase stipulated in the contract. About two-thirds of the 13,000 employees in this sector are owed the 50 cent-an-hour increases.

CUPE is writing letters to individual employers in the community social services sector urging them to ignore the association’s bad advice and implement the pay increase.

“Just as employers wouldn’t rob a bank on the CSSEA’s recommendation, we don’t expect them to rob employees,” says Michael Lanier, the provincial chair of CUPE’s community social services bargaining unit.

This isn’t the first time the employers’ association has advised its members to violate the collective agreement, Lanier said. “In 2000, the employers’ association offered similar advice to members. They were subsequently ordered by a mediator to pay employees the wage increase.”

In directing employers to violate the agreement again, CSSEA is joining the ranks of “repeat offenders,” says Lanier, a front line staff person with Gateway Society, a training centre for autistic teenagers in Delta.

“It’s distressing that the employers’ association recommends withholding people’s wages anytime its involved in a contract dispute with the unions,” Lanier said, adding the two sides are going to mediation later this month on an unrelated matter.

“It’s unfortunate that we need to spend so much time and money to force the employer to honour the 1999 Munro settlement. But given CSSEA’s past record, it’s not completely unexpected.”

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For information contact: Michael Lanier or

Staff Representative Bob Toop 604-291-1940