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Superior Greenstone Association for Community Living (ACL) workers walked of the job on Friday, April 5 to fight their employer’s demands for “sleep shifts” with a 25 per cent reduction in pay. Members had previously voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action.

Sixty workers at the ACL offer care and support to clients with exceptional needs in residential settings. “We have concerns regarding the safety of clients,” says Susan Cyr, acting president of CUPE 3426. “The client base in Geraldton has much greater needs than many other area Associations.”

The workers have been trying to reach an agreement with their employer since November 2000. “The employer’s proposal is simply a disguised wage slash,” adds Cyr.

According to CUPE Representative Howard Matthews, the employer walked away from the bargaining table stating the Ministry of Community and Social Services was demanding the union accept their proposal.

I have never seen a ministry interfere with negotiations to this extent,” says Matthews. “If the ministry wants to call the shots they should be at the bargaining table. The effect is bad faith bargaining.”