"High staff turnover is bad for workers, bad for the people they support, and ultimately bad for employers because constant recruitment and training are costly.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President.
Toronto (12 Dec. 2014) — Workers who provide care and support for people with developmental disabilities say unstable conditions in the sector must change, and employers have an opportunity to make that happen in discussions this week with unions in the sector.
Developmental services workers send message to employers that major changes are necessary for sector
Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) have planned actions in towns and cities across Ontario to show employers they are watching developments closely and expect significant changes to show up in a provincial framework agreement that local unions can adopt.
In Toronto, the location of several developmental services agencies, OPSEU/NUPGE members will hold an information picket on December 12 between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., outside 1132 Broadview Ave., south of Cosburn.
“Employers can’t recruit or retain skilled, professional workers because of the low pay and unstable hours they offer. They’ve addressed this in their own survey of employers across Ontario. They’re even turning to high school volunteers, who are hardly equipped to care for and support people with autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and other intellectual disabilities,” said Patti Markland, Chair of OPSEU developmental services.
More than two-thirds of developmental services workers are part-time, temporary, or on contract. Many earn less than $14 an hour.
“No matter how much they love their jobs, they can’t stay if they can’t make ends meet,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Our union has been in the forefront of the push for stable earnings for the workers and stable services for the people they support and their families. High staff turnover is bad for workers, bad for the people they support, and ultimately bad for employers because constant recruitment and training are costly.”
OPSEU/NUPGE represents some 12,000 developmental services workers, many of whom have planned actions this week to make it clear to employers they expect significant improvements as a result of talks taking place this week with employers.
The provincial talks resulted from earlier discussions facilitated by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, which is responsible for developmental services. The Ontario government has allocated $200 million for front-line workers over the next three years.
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