Halifax counsellors and support staff who work with disabled adults at Sunset Community in Pugwash have voted for possible job action. The approximately 151 employees work at Sunset’s adult residential centre or in group homes and are represented by CUPE 972.
CUPE Representative Kim Cail says the bargaining unit has settled their local issues and took the strike vote in support of lead table bargaining, where agreement has yet to be reached on wages, pensions, benefits, and contract language. “We are still very far apart on what constitutes a fair compensation package, and we have yet to discuss some important contract language such as protection from violence on the job,” says Cail. “It has been a very frustrating experience for community services employees right across the province, who are about to enter their third year without a wage increase.”
CUPE 972 President Jeannette Davies says staff are worried about leaving their residents without care. “We don’t want to go on strike, but we may have no choice,” she says. “We’re tired of working short staffed, and of not being able to pay our bills. It’s hard to retain people when you can’t offer them a living wage.”