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Northern CMHA staff to greet board with picket November 19

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TIMMINS – Unionized staff at the Cochrane-Timiskaming Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) will greet their board with an information picket Wednesday afternoon.

Members of OPSEU Local 631 are working under a contract that expired 15 months ago in August 2013. Since merging more than a decade ago, the CMHA branch has been slow to harmonize wages, leaving workers with the same title and job description earning substantially different wages.

The CMHA has been much faster about making wage adjustments to its executive director. While workers were receiving wage increases of 1.5 per cent in 2012, CMHA’s Clark McFarlane was granted a 15.85 per cent increase by the CMHA board. According to the Sunshine list, McFarlane received a further 4.67 per cent increase in 2013.

Workers are now alarmed about a plan that would force them to reapply for fewer overall jobs at a time when demand for their services is growing.

This is taking place against a backdrop where the CMHA returned funding to various levels of government according to its annual report. In 2012-2013 the Cochrane-Timiskaming CMHA returned $322,702 to three Ontario Ministries and the North East Local Health Integration Network.

In October the CMHA staff voted unanimously to strike without a fair offer from the CMHA. The two sides return to the bargaining table December 16 with the assistance of a conciliator.

Where: CMHA Cochrane-Timiskaming Head Office, 330 Second Avenue, Suite 201, Timmins

When: Wednesday, November 19 at 4 pm

For more information, contact OPSEU staff representative Denis Chenier at 705-365-0164.