NEWMARKET – Front-line health care workers, employees of York Regions Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), say they will not agree to their employers proposals to roll back negotiated benefits.
It is wrong to try to reduce the benefits of front-line health care workers and we will never agree to it, says Dawn Trott, a CCAC service coordinator and the elected chairperson of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 905, CCAC unit. We dont earn high wages and we have tough jobs. Every day, we deal with people in crisis. By the time we get home at night, every bit of energy has been drained out of us.
The 92 affected employees work in three CCAC offices in the region and in satellite offices attached to Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and York Central Hospital. They include team assistants, service coordinators, case managers, payroll and accounting staff, Information Technology specialists, information and referral specialists, and receptionists.
We help elderly people in crisis, people in palliative care, parents of high-risk infants you name it and we deal with it, says Trott. We serve 18,000 clients a year and the offices are pressure cookers because of understaffing. We are dedicated to our clients but we will not be penalized for that dedication. We are insisting on a fair contract.
The CCAC wants employees to pay 25 per cent of benefit premiums for vision and dental care and wants the workers to pay the entire premium for long-term disability insurance. The CCAC is also looking for concessions in the scheduling of hours of work. We are not working this hard to go backwards, says Trott.
The union is seeking 5 per cent increases in each of three years, while the employer is offering one per cent increases over the same period.
Unanimous strike vote
Earlier this month, the workers voted unanimously to support a strike if an agreement is not reached. CUPE and the CCAC will be meeting on June 29 to try to reach an agreement with the help of a government-appointed conciliation officer. At any point in the conciliation process, either party can ask the conciliator to file a no-board report, which starts the countdown to a possible strike or lockout.
For more information, please contact:
Local 905 CCAC Unit chair
Shannon McManus, CUPE Communications
(416) 292-3999, ext. 222