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(Halifax) – Employees at the Progress Centre for Early Intervention in Halifax say they are looking forward to the fulfillment of an election promise of new funding for the sector from Premier-designate Stephen McNeil.

The Liberals pledged to increase funding by $2.6 million during the recent election campaign.

Voicing their frustration with a lack of funding for their sector, the members of CUPE Local 5054 voted 100% in favour of strike action this past May.

CUPE National Representative Naomi Stewart says, “The members of Local 5054 have been trying to negotiate a first contract for two-and-a-half years now and lay the blame squarely on longstanding, inadequate funding from the province.  The issue of wages in this sector must be addressed.

Stewart explains that the recently renamed Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has taken over jurisdiction for the centre from the Department of Community Services.

There are currently 18 Early Intervention programs available throughout Nova Scotia.

This highly-educated workforce, almost all of them women and some with their Masters degrees, has had the same starting salary for more than 15 years. In that same period they’ve had one percentage increase from the province and two from their own Board of Directors.

Stewart says, “The only outstanding issue in these contract talks is wages, and this employer is facing major challenges as a result of funding shortfalls from the province.”

CUPE represents 13 employees at the Progress Centre including Early Interventionists, Library Technicians, Administrative Assistants and Playgroup Co-ordinators.

For information: 

   Naomi Stewart   
   CUPE National Representative 
   (902) 455-4180 (o)   

   John McCracken
   CUPE Communications Representative
   (902) 455-4180 (o)