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ELLIOT LAKE Staff cuts affecting homemaking, secretarial and maintenance services at Huron Supportive Housing Inc. will hurt the quality of care for residents according to the union representing 54 members, including RPNs, maintenance, homemaking and clerical staff at the Huron Lodge in Elliot Lake.

Theyre planning to eliminate homemaking and one clerical position, cut maintenance hours in half and they want already over-worked personal support workers to fill in the gaps, says Sandra Whitehead, vice-president of Local 1880 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the workers. Particularly vexing is their move to cut the hours of our maintenance worker just a few years before he retires hes been with Huron Lodge 16 years and the cut will reduce his pension income for the rest of his life.

Huron Lodge is a seniors supportive housing residence with many high-needs residents, including seniors suffering from Alzheimers and other debilitating illnesses. There are 35 regular beds and one respite care bed.

Theyve been reducing front line staff for years, says Whitehead. The work doesnt go away, its just harder and harder for the rest of us to keep up. Imagine cleaning up a resident whos soiled himself, then having to clean-up the toilet, the floor, the walls then rush back to serve lunch. Personal care workers (PSW) will have to do all this and more with less staff.

This is a place that believes in the buddy system for management, says CUPE National Representative Trish Andrews. Theyve got four full-time management staff, at much higher rates of pay, for a 36-bed facility and they arent planning any cuts to management.

We will be calling on members of the community to support our campaign to reverse the cuts, says Whitehead. Well be leafleting the community and spreading the word about the impact these cuts will have on resident care.

The cuts are slated for October 1st. The workers will be reaching out to members of this northern retirement community to put pressure on local politicians to reverse the cuts.


For further information, please contact:
Sandra Whitehead, Vice-President
Eileen Fontaine, Chief Steward
Trish Andrews, CUPE National Rep.
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications