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Espanola – Although parents of developmentally-delayed individuals have appealed publicly to the Community Living Espanola management to reach a contract settlement and restore regular services, the agency has refused to resume negotiations and end the two-month-long strike.

It’s shameful that their refusal to negotiate and reach a settlement means clients are receiving compromised care. They are not being allowed out of their group homes and, as a result, are being kept from enjoying events and celebrations like the Canada Day festivities and parade.

This agency is funded by the province to provide community living, not segregated living,” says Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) national staff representative Michelle Loiselle who negotiates on behalf of CUPE 2462 — the 38 front line staff at Community Living Espanola.

Last Thursday, a settlement was within reach, but the executive director of Community Living Espanola cut off negotiations because the agency bargaining team had gone away for the long weekend.

By union standards, if you really want to get a deal, you stay and negotiate until you reach a settlement. There has to be commitment on both sides of the table. But its evident there is no commitment on the part of this executive director and board of directors to negotiate and end this strike,” says Loiselle, who stressed that other community living agency employers have averted strikes while giving front line staff modest wage increases of between 2 and 3.5 per cent.

Management’s refusal to return to the bargaining table comes just days after emotional appeals of parents and family members who detailed how services now delivered by scab workers have deteriorated, and how their loved ones’ behaviour is regressing.

This employer’s refusal to negotiate shows they don’t really care about the quality of services clients are receiving. And we know that they have little respect for workers.

We are now back at square one. Our final offer of May 13 is now back on the table. These proposals reflect the standard in the developmental services sector, and it’s a bar that Community Living Espanola will now have to reach in order to achieve a settlement,” says Loiselle.

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Loiselle CUPE National Representative (705) 561-9070
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 578-8774