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Employees at Rail City Industries will hand out leaflets and peanuts at two shopping centres in Melville, Sask., on Saturday to draw attention to their low wages and the need for more government support for their agency.

“We’re paid peanuts,” says Doreen Pilot, Local 3481 president. “We have teenage children making more than us cleaning buildings.”

The 30 members of the local provide training, education and residential care for people with mental and physical challenges. Although their jobs are demanding, most of the staff all women makes $7 to $9 an hour.

In contrast, group home workers covered by collective agreements in the institutional sector make $12 to $14 an hour, while employees doing work of equal value in the provincial government make $16 to $18 an hour.

The low wages are due to the lack of financial support from the provincial government, Pilot said. “The Saskatchewan government has nickel-and-dimed group homes and other community services for years[and] the government is sitting on an $83 million surplus.”

The CUPE members wore peanut necklaces and carried signs declaring “We’re worth more than peanuts.”

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