'The time for major changes in the management of the Agency is long overdue.' - Joan Jessome.
Halifax (28 July 2009) - The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) is calling for immediate action to implement the recommendations of an external operational audit of the Richmond County Home Support Services Society (RCHSSS).
NSGEU represents 41 employees working with the agency as home support workers and schedulers/field supervisors.
The audit was conducted in November 2008 at the request of the department of health and the agency. It involved interviews with staff, board members, department of health officials and community representatives as well as a review of relevant files and documents.
The central recommendation was that there should be “a significant change to the provision of home support in Richmond County, either through new leadership within RCHSSS and/or an alternate agency."
The union recently obtained a copy of a summary of the audit through freedom of information and protection of privacy legislation.
“This report confirms what our members at the agency have been saying for a long time, namely that they are very committed to serving their clients but that they are struggling with an unacceptable work environment," says NSGEU president Joan Jessome. "The time for major changes in the management of the agency is long overdue.”
On almost every operational indicator assessed by the consultants – human resources, operations, client and community or finances, governance and leadership – the agency was found lacking, Jessome noted.
“In addition, the fact that there are 30 grievances for only 41 of our members speaks volumes about how poor the working conditions have been. Furthermore, the most recent collective agreement was only ratified by 57% of the members. (It) also shows how dissatisfied they are.”
To help support the union’s call for immediate action, members of NSGEU Local 33, who work at the agency, held an information picket in St. Peters on July 27 during the community's annual Nicholas Denys Days.
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