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NEWMARKET York Region health care workers could be on strike as early as Thursday at 12:01 a.m. if the regions Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) continues to push for contract concessions, including reducing workers benefits. The York Region CCAC received $4.7 million in additional funding from the provincial government last week, raising their total funding to $59.4 million.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 905, which represents the workers, is meeting with the employer tomorrow (July 21st), in an effort to avoid a shutdown and achieve a collective agreement.

If a strike or lockout occurs even though the CCAC has received over $4 million in new funding, there is really something rotten in the state of Denmark, says Dawn Trott, a CCAC service coordinator and the elected chairperson of CUPE Local 905s CCAC unit. We are hoping that the CCAC will withdraw its demands for contract concessions when we meet tomorrow. We work hard for a living and we deserve a decent contract.

The 92 affected employees work in three CCAC offices in the region and in satellite offices attached to Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and York Central Hospital. They include team assistants, service coordinators, case managers, payroll and accounting staff, Information Technology specialists, information and referral specialists, and receptionists.

We help elderly people in crisis, people in palliative care, parents of high-risk infants you name it and we deal with it, says Trott. We serve 18,000 clients a year and the offices are pressure cookers because of understaffing. We are dedicated to our clients but we will not be penalized for that dedication.

The CCAC wants employees to pay 25 per cent of benefit premiums for vision and dental care. The CCAC is also looking for concessions in the scheduling of hours of work. We are not going to agree to concessions, today, tomorrow, or ever, says Trott.

Last month, the workers voted unanimously to support a strike if an agreement is not reached.

For more information, please contact:

Dawn Trott
CCAC Unit Chair
(905) 806-1231

Shannon McManus
CUPE Communications
(416) 292-3999, ext. 222

Jim Keenan
Staff Representative
(705) 790-0056