OWEN SOUND, ON, Sept. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Participation Lodge and OPSEU
Local 235 have reached an impasse again at 4 p.m. today. Despite the
assistance of a provincial mediator, the employer's offer remained
virtually unchanged. With a strike deadline set for 12:01 a.m. Sat.,
Sept. 22, it appears that the employer has little desire to resolve the
"Our members are very concerned about the quality of service that these
very vulnerable clients will receive," said Lynn Easter, OPSEU staff
negotiator. "The decision to withdraw services is certainly not an easy
one, however, the members feel quite strongly that this employer could
improve morale, work co-operatively on scheduling issues, and provide
for a fair and reasonable settlement." Wages and working conditions
continue to be unresolved at the bargaining table.
OPSEU maintains that Participation Lodge is mismanaged and has far too
many managers for the number of staff providing direct care services.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on the Province to do
an actual investigation into how much this non-profit organization
spends on providing direct care services.
"Elaine Kerr, Executive Director was recently quoted as saying there was
'about six' managers or directors when in fact the organizational chart
provided to the union clearly identifies eleven managers for
approximately 50 staff," Thomas said. "Kerr also stated that 'staff
are responsible for their own morale and that a few are creating a bad
morale.' The fact that 90 per cent of the members showed up at both the
recent strike vote and final offer vote, and rejected both employer
offers by 91 per cent, clearly indicates where the real problems are at
Managers also have an employer-contributed RRSP, while staff do not have
any form of pension. The union has confirmed that at least one manager
received a bonus for 2011 and, along with another manager, subsequently
used an agency vehicle and presumably agency time to go spend it.
The union calls on the employer to return to the bargaining table to
negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement before the
Participation Lodge provides services both in the community and in a
rural long-term care facility for people with significant physical care
needs and developmental disabilities. The current collective agreement
expired March 31, 2011.
For further information:
Lynne Easter, Negotiator 519-657-8312 or Andrea McCormack, Staff Representative 519-379-7159