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Workers at Participation Lodge reject tentative agreement and vote 97 per cent in favour of strike action


Developmental services workers at Participation Lodge voted against a tentative agreement (June 10) that would have eliminated a shift premium for half of its precarious workforce.

More than half of the 50 employees are employed on a part-time or casual basis. The employer sought to eliminate the 13 per cent shift premium for this group of workers that have no benefits plan. The employer has a top heavy supervisory structure with two managers employed for every 10 staff, making double the income of the workers that actually provide the direct services to the community.

“We are concerned about the questionable financial decisions being made at this agency. The employer has preferred to increase its management structure, at the expense of investing in a stable workforce. How can a government-funded organization guarantee continuity of care when 56 per cent of its workforce is part-time and casual?” said Bargaining Team Chair, Verdun Semple.  

“A publicly-run, not-for-profit system needs strong oversight to ensure tax dollars are used as effectively as possible," said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "There should be more frequent compliance audits. That way we will be more assured that the money is being spent where it is needed most.”

Workers provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury at the main lodge in Holland Centre, as well as apartment projects in Owen Sound and Hanover Ontario.

Workers have been without a contract since March 31, 2014. The union applied for conciliation on June 16.

Paul Johnstone, Staff Representative OPSEU
Cell: (226) 821-4262