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NEWMARKET York Region health care workers are calling on area residents to help pressure Ontario Minister of Health George Smitherman to get involved and end their strike for fair wages at the regions Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).

Weve been on strike for a week, and no moves have been made to resolve this crisis, says Dawn Trott, a CCAC service coordinator and spokesperson for Local 905 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). There are people in our community who are suffering because our employer has failed to offer a fair wage settlement thats all it would take to end this crisis.

The 92 workers on strike normally work in three CCAC offices in the region and in satellite offices at the Markham Stouffville Hospital, the Southlake Regional Health Centre, and the York Central Hospital. They include team assistants, service coordinators, case managers, payroll and accounting staff, information technology specialists, information and referral specialists, and receptionists.

Every year we help 18,000 clients find the health and home care services they need, says Trott. We want to get back to providing this essential service to area residents and were asking their help to get back to work.

Wages are at the heart of the labour dispute. Inadequate staffing levels and high stress on the job have also contributed to this crisis. In bargaining before the strike began, management sought concessions that would reduce the purchasing power of workers and see them pay for some of their own benefits.

Well remain on strike until theres a decent offer from the other side, says Trott. But so far they havent made any moves to get back to the table. In the meantime, the public continues to be deprived of essential health services. Its time for action.

For further information, please contact:

Dawn Trott
Local 905 CCAC Unit Chair

Jim Keenan
CUPE National Rep

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE Communications