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Regina: Striking group home workers in Ituna, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, will hold a noon hour information picket outside the department of community resources and employment in Regina on Wednesday, June 30.

The strikers want the department to pressure their employer Deer Park Villa to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract.

Deer Park Villa operates three group homes and an activity centre in Ituna for adults with mental and physical challenges. Nearly all of its funding comes from the government.

When the strike began on June 3, the employer transferred two group home residents to a private personal care home in Ituna, which is partly owned and operated by the CEO and the chairperson of Deer Park Villa. The striking workers are critical of the move, saying it represents a conflict-of-interest.

As union spokesperson Cyndi Salyniuk asks: As long as a member of the employers bargaining team stands to financially benefit from the strike, where is the incentive to negotiate a fair settlement?

Last week, Deer Park Villa rejected the unions request for a provincial conciliator to assist with contract negotiations. It also rejected the unions earlier request to return to the bargaining table.

CUPE wants to know what pressure the department of community resources and employment is putting on the community-based agency to return to the bargaining table.

In a June 18 letter to the director of community living division, CUPE also asked the department if it was aware of the conflict-of-interest situation at Deer Park Villa.

It appears the employer would do almost anything to avoid negotiating a settlement to this dispute, says Salyniuk. What we want to know is what the government is prepared to do about it?

Salyniuk says not one of the striking group home workers in Ituna has ever been on a picket line before. But she says, after 25 days on the line walking in rain, sleet and hail we have found our stride and wont give up until weve got strong seniority language in our contract.

The Ituna strikers will set up the information picket on Wednesday outside the departments head office at 1920 Broad Street.

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more information, contact: Cyndi at 306 795-7755
CUPE staff representative Aina Kagis at 306 536-8226.