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Members of Local 3626, employees of the Windsor/Essex Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), hit the bricks July 2, striking for job security and a decent wage increase.

The CCAC provides home nursing care and other community-based health care services.

“We haven’t had a wage increase for seven years, and our employer has refused to put any kind of job security in our contract,” said local president June Muir. “We’re making a third less than workers with other CCAC’s in Ontario and we want parity with our counterparts in other communities.”

The Harris government has created CCACs throughout Ontario to ration funding for “community-based” health care. As a result, pressure is building on health care workers who are facing deteriorating wages and working conditions and the threat of increased competition from for-profit private operators.

“We’re not only fighting to hang on to decent-paying jobs, we’re also fighting for the future of health care in this province,” said Muir.

Ken McClelland, the CUPE National representative working with the local said the lowest rate for CCAC workers in Chatham-Kent is $13.83 per hour. After three years, the top rate is $15.64 per hour. By comparison Windsor’s lowest starting rate is $11.22 with a top rate after three years of $14.30 per hour.