Campbellford, Ontario – Negotiations between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and Community Living Campbellford/Brighton (CLCB) failed to produce a deal today, meaning nearly 100 workers in Local 316 are still on strike.
“We worked so hard to ensure we could reach a settlement today,” said OPSEU staff representative Richard Bradley. “We provided the employer with a variety of examples of existing contract language in the sector that we would agree to, but they wouldn’t move.”
The employer’s final offer was rejected by 86 per cent of the membership in a vote last Tuesday, March 21, initiating the strike on March 22.
Key issues on the bargaining table are the employer’s demand that staff use their personal vehicles as a condition of their employment, a requirement that has raised significant concerns about liability and health and safety. The employer also refused to improve the “substandard wage package” being offered, Bradley said.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was outraged by the news.
“Nobody goes into developmental services to get rich,” he said. “It’s a labour of love, and you can’t put a price on love. But you can put a price on food. You can put a price on shoes. You can put a price on gasoline, and the wear and tear on your car. If these workers can’t feed themselves and their families, and if they can’t pay the rent, then the people they support won’t receive the appropriate level of care that they deserve.
“This employer clearly fails to understand that. We put on a massive show of solidarity at our rally yesterday, and I thank the members who came from across the province to participate. But we’re just getting started. We’re going to have to crank up the pressure –and we will,” Thomas added.
No date is set for further negotiations, and the strike continues until a deal is reached.
OPSEU members at CLCB provide support for adults with intellectual disabilities in Campbellford, Brighton, and the surrounding area.
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Richard Bradley, 416-542-8616