TRENTON, ON, July 23, 2012 /CNW/ - In a vote held July 19, workers at
Community Living Quinte West (CLQW) have rejected a tentative contract
agreement with the employer.
The tentative agreement, reached July 11 with the assistance of a
provincial conciliator, failed to address key concerns of members
working in the agency. OPSEU Local 403 President Cathy Suijker said
that her members are being forced to accept substandard improvements
while the employer wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars on excess
"There are 13 full-time staff at our agency, eight of which are on duty
most of the time," Suijker said. "Yet the Executive Director feels she
needs, in addition to herself, three Directors, two Managers, an
Executive Assistant, an Assistant to the Executive Assistant, and a
Supervisor to run the agency. In the meantime, our members took a zero
per cent increase in 2010 and 2011, and are now being offered a wage
increase far below the provincial average."
Suijker said her members are fed up with this complete waste of taxpayer
resources while they struggle to provide care and support for 12
individuals in group homes and run programs in the community. "The
homes are all 'single staffed' around the clock, and the employer says
they can't afford to provide additional staff, even when the safety and
well-being of the individuals and staff would be affected. Our members
work 14-16 hours straight to ensure continuity of care; they fundraise
when Ministry funding doesn't cover all agency costs; they come in
early and stay late. Yet they watch precious dollars mindlessly spent
on having nearly one manager for every employee."
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the union will request that
the employer return to the bargaining table and negotiate an agreement
that will put government dollars into front-line staff and services
instead of the pockets of wasted administrative staff.
"CLQW is supposed to provide vital community services…not be a jobs
program for overpaid bureaucrats," Thomas said. "Our members have
rejected a sub-standard contract because they know that it will result
in the loss of qualified, professional staff with little hope of
attracting new front-line workers. This will only hurt the clients that
rely on this agency. I seriously urge the employer to reassess their
own priorities and start acting responsibly."
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information:
Chris Cormier, OPSEU Regional Board Member (c) 613-921-5346
Cathy Suijker, OPSEU Local 403 Steward and Bargaining Team Chair (c) 613-743-2423