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Local 151 members protest outside Minister Helena Jaczek’s constituency office in Markham

We the North
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More than 50 members of Local 151 of Community Living Elgin were joined by OPSEU President Smokey Thomas, First Vice President/Treasurer Eddy Almeida and Region 1 RVP Ron Elliot in a protest outside the constituency office of Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services and MPP of Oak Ridges-Markham. 

The protestors travelled from Elgin County by bus to show solidarity for their colleagues and the people they help support.  The protest’s goal was to secure a meeting with the Minister to discuss the layoffs of 18 employees of Community Living Elgin only four months after Local 151 ratified a contract with the employer.

The Local has close to 250 members that support approximately 300 adults, children and their families across Elgin County to live, work and participate in their community.

“The announced layoffs are a clear case of an employer that has made a mess of its finances and wants to make the employees pay for it,” said Smokey Thomas, speaking to the members on the sidewalk outside the minister’s office. “Community and Social Services provides the funding for Community Living Elgin and they should intervene in this case.”

“We will continue to support Local 151 as long as it takes to ensure justice takes place,” said Eddy Almeida.

Ron Elliot said that Local 151 “will continue to make the minister’s life as unpleasant as possible until she acknowledges her responsibility.”

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Outside the minister's office door is Christine Laverty, 1st VP of Local 151; Region 1 RVP Ron Elliot; OPSEU President Smokey Thomas; First Vice President/Treasurer Eddy Almeida; Local 161,  Nancy John, President of Local 161 – Community Living Tillsonburg; and Michelle Cummings, the parent of a Community Living Elgin client.

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Protesters jam the hallway outside minister's office

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Local 151 members sing "Victims' Lament." The song was written to protest the layoffs. Chris Wiley on guitar.

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OPSEU President Smokey Thomas speaks to protesters outside Jaczek's office building

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First Vice President/Treasurer Eddy Almeida 

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Region 1 RVP Ron Elliot