Thunder Bay developmental services strike votes are a call for promised funding

THUNDER BAY, ON, Sept. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - More than 500 Thunder Bay developmental services workers have given their employers and the province a strong message that it's time to fix the crisis.

OPSEU Local 738 at Avenue II Community Program Services voted 100% in favour of a strike and OPSEU Local 740 at Community Living Thunder Bay voted 99.7% in favour, showing strong support for their bargaining teams.

"The Ontario government promised to fix the crisis in developmental services, and now is the time for them to make good on their promise. Thunder 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 two Thunder Bay agencies are forerunners for bargaining: More than 50 OPSEU developmental services locals 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, patti.markland@gmail.com; Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936, evisser@opseu.org

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