Barry's Bay developmental services strike vote is call for promised funding

BARRY'S BAY, ON, Sept. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - 90 Barry's Bay developmental services workers have given their employer and the province a strong message that it's time to fix the crisis.

On September 25, OPSEU Local 473 at Madawaska Valley Association for Community Living voted 100% in favour of a strike, showing strong support for their bargaining team.

"The Ontario government promised to fix the crisis in developmental services, and now is the time for them to make good on their promise. Barry's Bay residents deserve access to quality services in their community, and the frontline workers have said loud and clear that they will do what it takes to make sure that happens," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President.

The 2014 Ontario budget promised $810 million to ease the crisis in developmental services, and another $200 million to improve wages of the frontline staff, who are some of the lowest-paid workers in Ontario.

"Developmental Services clients are our family. We really feel that if we don't stand up for them, no one will," said Patti Markland, OPSEU Developmental Services Sector Chair. "As front-line workers, we often feel like the province doesn't notice that so many families are at the end of their tether trying to get access to the services their loved ones depend on. These people can't wait any longer. And now Ontario has a chance to make this right."

The Barry's Bay agency is one of the forerunners for bargaining with more than 50 OPSEU developmental services locals that will negotiate new contracts this year.

SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Patti Markland, OPSEU Developmental Services Sector Chair: 613-848-6016; Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 1-800-268-7376 x8714, evisser@opseu.org

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