THUNDER BAY, ON, Sept. 24, 2011 /CNW/ - More than four hundred
Developmental Services workers in Thunder Bay reached a last-minute
settlement in negotiations with Community Living Thunder Bay (CLTB) and
Avenue ll Community Program Services on Friday evening, narrowly
averting a 12:01 a.m. strike deadline on Sunday, September 25.
"We have sent a strong message to employers at Developmental Services
agencies across the province that a fair deal for workers is necessary
and possible," said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "I want to
commend the dedication and support that members in Thunder Bay gave
their bargaining teams. That solidarity was essential to the
negotiation of these two tentative contracts."
Key issues in negotiations were wages and improvements for part-time
workers. OPSEU's bargaining team recommends that their members vote in
favour of the new tentative agreements.
"At CLTB we are dedicated to the clients we serve," said Kyle Pearson,
Bargaining Chair, OPSEU Local 740,"We are all deeply relieved that we
are able to continue to provide the quality services and care that our
community depends on."
"I am happy that the workers at Avenue II are able to continue to serve
our clients without disruption," said Silvana Cacciatore-Roy, President
of OPSEU Local 738. "We have waited a very long time for a contract."
Central bargaining talks have broken off at the Developmental Services
Provincial Discussion Table (DSPDT). This has resulted in the need to
bargain each agreement from scratch at the local level, and has
contributed to the fact that 46 additional Developmental Services units
across Ontario have filed for conciliation.
Many workers have now been without a contract for as many as 17 months,
and five of these units have taken strike votes.
Ontario's Developmental Services are seriously under-funded. Workers are
struggling with heavy workloads and difficult shifts, and the majority
of employees only have part-time work. Adequate sector funding is vital
to maintaining access to quality programs for some of the most
vulnerable members of our community.
OPSEU Developmental Services workers held an information picket at the
Ottawa office of Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social
Services, on the morning of Friday September 23 to bring attention to
the sector's funding crisis as the Thunder Bay strike deadline
There are more than 8,000 OPSEU members working in developmental
Providing professional care to people with developmental disabilities,
their work includes providing life skills and other training, support
with basic personal tasks and administering medications. Support is
provided in community residences and in clients' homes.
For further information:
Kyle Pearson, Bargaining Chair, OPSEU Local 740, Community Living Thunder Bay: 807-621-0983 (c)
Silvana Cacciatore-Roy, Bargaining Chair and Local President, OPSEU Local 738, Avenue ll Community Program Services: 807-621-9347 (c)