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SARNIA, Ont. — The union representing workers at Community Living Sarnia will meet with their employer in conciliation tomorrow, May 29, backed by a 98% strike mandate.

“Our members are serious about seeing a significant adjustment to their wages now that the provincial government has committed new funding for that purpose,” said Brian Biggers, president of CUPE 4370. “We worked with our employer to lobby the province for that funding. Now we want to see it on the table so we can settle a fair collective agreement.”

Chronic underfunding of developmental services in Ontario has threatened the consistency and quality of supports for persons with a developmental disability because of difficulties recruiting and retaining staff. A joint lobby campaign by CUPE and other unions, employers, supported individuals and their families resulted in $200 million in new funding over four years, announced in the recent provincial budget.

The 138 members of CUPE 4370 are among the lowest paid developmental services workers in the province. More than half work part-time and 90% are women.

Workplace safety and health is the other main issue for the union, which wants to see improved contract language.

“We are looking forward to a productive session with the help of the conciliator tomorrow,” Biggers said. “Our members do not want to jeopardize services for clients, but we also have to stand up for ourselves. With a fair collective agreement in hand, we will be able to once again work with our employer to continue lobbying for strengthened and secure supports for persons with a developmental disability and their families.”

CUPE 4370 members are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 30 to hear whether progress has been made in the conciliation talks.


For more information, contact:

Brian Biggers, President, CUPE 4370, 519-333-7109

Doreen Beath, CUPE National Representative, 519-433-1753

Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142