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Owen Sound rally to support striking Participation Lodge workers

We the North
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A rally in support of striking workers will be held at Participation Lodge in Owen Sound on Wednesday, September 26. Staff have been on strike since Saturday morning, September 22.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida and OPSEU Executive Board Members, Mike Grimaldi and Deb Tungatt will be attending the rally at noon.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 25
TIME: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE:  St. Francis Place 350 10th St. East, Owen Sound

“It is time for this employer to get back to the table,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Their failure to negotiate a reasonable contract with staff is an embarrassment to the community.”

Managers at Participation Lodge earn an annual salary of between $80,000 and $100,000, plus an additional bonus at Christmas. Paying manager salaries accounts for approximately 45 percent of the agency’s funding.

“We are calling on this employer to get back to the table,” said OPSEU Negotiator, Lynn Easter. “They have enough money to put 11 managers in charge of 50 staff, yet claim they can not find the money to adequately staff the agency.”

“We call on the Ministry of Community and Social Services to audit the books at Participation Lodge. There must be some accountability for the money they have,” said Easter.

Managers are believed to be running the primary Participation Lodge location, however an anonymous source has told the union that the employer has also hired replacement workers. Those replacement staff have reportedly been told they must work for two weeks straight, and may not leave the building during that time.

More than 50 staff members are currently on strike, and have been without a contract since March 31, 2011. There are picket lines at all three Participation Lodge locations: Holland Centre and St. Francis Place in Owen Sound and Lutheran Manor in Hanover.

Participation Lodge provides supports to persons with developmental disabilities both in residential settings and in the community.

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More information:

Lynne Easter,
OPSEU Negotiator: 519-657-8312 (c)

Andrea McCormack,
OPSEU Staff Representative: 519-379-7159 (c)