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Union members at Community Living Quinte West reject contract offer


In a vote held July 19, workers at Community Living Quinte West (CLQW) have rejected a tentative contract agreement with the employer.

The tentative agreement, reached July 11 with the assistance of a provincial conciliator, failed to address key concerns of members working in the agency. OPSEU Local 403 President Cathy Suijker said that her members are being forced to accept substandard improvements while the employer wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars on excess managers.

“There are 13 full-time staff at our agency, eight of which are on duty most of the time,” Suijker said. “Yet the Executive Director feels she needs, in addition to herself, three Directors, two Managers, an Executive Assistant, an Assistant to the Executive Assistant, and a Supervisor to run the agency. In the meantime, our members took a zero per cent increase in 2010 and 2011, and are now being offered a wage increase far below the provincial average.”

Suijker said her members are fed up with this complete waste of taxpayer resources while they struggle to provide care and support for 12 individuals in group homes and run programs in the community. “The homes are all ‘single staffed’ around the clock, and the employer says they can"t afford to provide additional staff, even when the safety and well-being of the individuals and staff would be affected. Our members work 14-16 hours straight to ensure continuity of care; they fundraise when Ministry funding doesn"t cover all agency costs; they come in early and stay late. Yet they watch precious dollars mindlessly spent on having nearly one manager for every employee.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the union will request that the employer return to the bargaining table and negotiate an agreement that will put government dollars into front-line staff and services instead of the pockets of wasted administrative staff.

“CLQW is supposed to provide vital community services…not be a jobs program for overpaid bureaucrats,” Thomas said. “Our members have rejected a sub-standard contract because they know that it will result in the loss of qualified, professional staff with little hope of attracting new front-line workers. This will only hurt the clients that rely on this agency. I seriously urge the employer to reassess their own priorities and start acting responsibly.”

More information: please contact:

Chris Cormier,
OPSEU Regional Board Member
(c) 613-921-5346

Cathy Suijker,
OPSEU Local 403 Steward and Bargaining Team Chair
(c) 613-743-2423