'I’m appalled.... Addictions don’t take holidays.' - MGEU president Peter Olfert.
Winnipeg (18 Nov. 2009) - The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) has announced it will be shutting its doors during the holiday season as a cost-cutting measure.
All but three of 26 AFM locations will close from mid-day on Dec. 24 to Jan. 4. The move will save $50,000, the foundation estimates.
Those remaining open will be the James Toal Centre (for men) and the River House for Women, both in Winnipeg, and the foundation's facility in Ste. Rose du Lac.
Peter Olfert, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), says the closures will hurt clients in need of services and workers and who provide them.
"It's unfair that staff need to bear the brunt of this economic shortfall, particularly at a time of year when every penny counts for our members," Olfert said.
"I’m appalled that people who need addiction services during that period of time won't have the same kind of access to those services as they would at other times throughout the year. Addictions don’t take holidays," he said.
The MGEU represents roughly 280 AFM employees who have been told they must take unpaid time off or use vacation days or banked time to cover the closure period.
Olfert plans to lobby the province to reverse the decision. "We believe that a socially responsible government should not cut funding to addiction services," he says. "These services should be available 365 days a year."
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