On the eve of a crucial byelection in London West, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union is calling on the candidates to declare their support for a moratorium on the planned layoff of 27 Children's Aid Society workers in the city.
"I believe it's incumbent on each party candidate to step forward today and tell the voters whether or not they support a moratorium that would save the jobs of these crucial community workers," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, whose union represents the employees who have been told by management at the London-Middlesex CAS they will be laid off by the end of September.
"I say to the candidates: 'Either you're on the side of these workers who perform vital services on behalf of some of the most vulnerable young people in London, or you're not. The voters of London West deserve no less than to hear from you on the issue of a moratorium on job cuts.'"
Facing a budget shortfall of more than $4.6 million this year, the local CAS announced the layoffs earlier this month, despite the fact the loss of more than two dozen child and youth workers will directly affect the services these clients and their families rely on. OPSEU says the job losses could be avoided were the province to adopt an alternative "transitional funding" formula in place of the model put forward by the Liberal government that will directly impact the delivery of frontline services to children and families in the care of the London-Middlesex CAS.
"Nobody for a moment believes the demand for services in London-Middlesex will decline in the next few years," said Thomas. "So why put into place a funding formula that represents a double-jeopardy where clients lose their services and workers lose their jobs?"
OPSEU Local 116
OPSEU Negotiations Unit