Community Living workers rally to pressure employer back to table

“This employer must come back to the table with a fair deal before the strike deadline,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “These workers have been without a contract for long enough.”

Picton (16 Oct. 2012) - Workers at Community Living Prince Edward (CLPE) held an information picket on Friday, October 12, as they draw close to an October 26 strike deadline. Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) are putting pressure on the employer to return to the table to negotiate.

“This employer must come back to the table with a fair deal before the strike deadline,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “These workers have been without a contract for long enough.”

“We went to the table ready to bargain,” says OPSEU Local 448 bargaining team Chairperson, Patti Markland. “The employer was unwilling to consider any measures protecting part-time and casual staff. They ignored requests for more reasonable shift length and distribution. In fact, they wouldn’t consider any of our proposals around scheduling at all.”

The employer has postponed their long-planned bid for accreditation, although it has been a long and much anticipated process requiring a lot of resources. This postponement is a clear indication that CLPE expects further confrontations with staff, who are key to the accreditation process.

“We can only understand their decision to postpone accreditation to mean that CLPE continues to be adversarial, and does not intend to negotiate with staff,” said Markland.

Within the last two years, CLPE has promoted a supervisor to manager, a secretary was promoted and a new one hired, and a new manager. In addition, they have posted yet another manager position as well as an accountant position in just the past few weeks.

“How can they say they have no resources to negotiate with staff, when they have just posted a notice to hire yet another manager? Clearly they do not consider their front-line workers a priority,” said Markland.

Community Living Prince Edward is chronically under-staffed. There are currently 90 full-time and 64 part-time staff to serve more than 400 clients.

There are 23,000 people living with disabilities currently on wait lists for Community Living Ontario. Of these, 80 per cent live at home with parents who are 70-79 years of age.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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