(St. Thomas) – Less than four months after workers at Community Living Elgin ratified a new collective agreement, 18 employees have learned they will be losing their jobs.
The employer’s justification for the layoffs – a “back deficit and cost containments” – doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, said Steve Abdey, president of OPSEU Local 151 which represents almost 250 employees at the community agency.
“They are tying themselves up in knots with a lot of questionable dollar amounts to try and justify why 18 people have to lose their jobs,” said Abdey, adding that he finds it more than a coincidence that the job losses will come from job classifications occupied by members of the bargaining team which negotiated a new contract in April, 2015.
The job cuts will take effect September 27.
Increased WSIB contributions caused by an audit, two years of unpaid pay equity obligations, an unfunded pay increase from 2011-12, and over expenditures of benefits are among the “cost containments” cited by Community Living Elgin in justifying the layoffs.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU, said the community agency must get its fiscal household in order before cutting staff.
“This is a clear case of an employer who’s made a mess of its finances and chooses to lay the blame at the feet of its own employees,” he said. “It’s a band-aid solution and responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the employer.”
OPSEU Staff Negotiator