Bruce County Children's Aid Society workers seeking fair contract - 95% strike mandate



    WALKERTON, ON, Nov. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - CAS Workers at the Children's Aid
Society of the County of Bruce voted 95 per cent to strike if a fair deal is
not reached in contract talks with management. The 52 child protection and
administration support workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE), are facing heavy workloads, low wages and inferior benefits
compared with other CAS agencies.
    "We are united to improve working conditions," said Shelley Walmsely,
president of CUPE 2194. "We are looking for a fair contract that addresses key
issues such as heavy workloads and inferior compensation. Compared to other
CAS agencies, our members are being short-changed and we demand to be treated
fairly."
    In the Ontario Auditor General's value-for-money audit, the report
recommends CAS agencies establish caseload benchmarks for front-line workers.
"It's been a year since the report by the auditor general and this agency has
yet to set caseload caps to address heavy workloads and staff retention issues
- this must be dealt with now," said Mike Dunn, CUPE national representative.
    Neighbouring Grey County and Huron-Perth CAS agencies signed new
agreements with their workers, addressing similar wage and workload issues
faced by Bruce County CAS workers. "Our agency is funded by the same
government using the same funding criteria, yet we are paid less than other
agencies," stressed Walmsely. "We are doing the same work, delivering the same
services to our clients. It's time for management to deal with this glaring
wage and benefits disparity."
    Conciliation talks are scheduled for Thursday, November 22. The workers'
last contract expired on March 31, 2007. "We hope that with the help of a
conciliation officer, management will address issues that will improve working
conditions at the agency," said Dunn.




For further information:

For further information: Mike Dunn, CUPE National Representative, (519)
743-7781; James Chai, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999

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