Windsor Windsor and Essex County community living workers say they are disappointed and frustrated that the administrations of area agencies have chosen to fight them at the bargaining table instead of negotiating a settlement that would benefit services for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Recently, front line staff with Community Living Windsor and Community Living Essex County appealed to their agency administrations to join with them in publicly advocating for adequate provincial funding to strengthen community supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families, and to increase wages of staff working in the sector.
We know our agency administration agrees that community living agencies are underfunded and front line workers are underpaid. While we want to reach a negotiated settlement because our first concern is for the well-being of our clients, weve made it clear to the agencies negotiators that workers are no longer prepared to shoulder the burdens of provincial underfunding through low wages and overwork.
If, instead of doing the right thing and negotiating a fair wage settlement, the agencies continue to fight us at the bargaining table, we are prepared to fight back, says Charlotte McDonald, acting president for CUPE 2345 whose members recently voted along with CUPE 3137 (Community Living Essex County) in favour of strike action.
On Friday, April 1, CUPE 2345 and CUPE 3137 filed for a no board report with the Ministry of Labour which sets the clock in motion for a strike or lockout on April 18. The Windsor and Essex community living workers join CUPE 3943 (Community Living Hamilton) and CUPE 4370 (Community Living Sarnia), whose members are also in a possible strike or lockout position by mid-April.
An employer-commissioned study of the sector concluded that years of chronic provincial underfunding for community supports for the developmentally delayed has resulted in diminished programs, a lack of continuity of care for people with developmental disabilities and their families, and low wages and overwork for front line staff. The study found that community living front line staff earn 25 per cent less than other social service workers in comparable jobs.
For more information, please contact:
Charlotte McDonald, Acting President, CUPE 2345Community Living Windsor - (519) 738-6905 or (519) 971-2600
Suanne Hawkins, President, CUPE 3137 Community Living Essex County - (519) 971-3724 or (519) 979-6727
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - (416) 578-8774