ALLISTON ON – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) is calling for the employer at Community Living Association for South Simcoe (CLASS) to take immediate action in the wake of numerous incidents of workplace violence in the past year.
CLASS staff, who are members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 332, have faced an increase in physical and verbal assaults in recent months. Although originating from a small percentage of total residents, CLASS facilities are not designed or equipped to accommodate individuals with a history of violence or substance use, resulting in concussions, stitches, broken bones, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The members and their union are calling on the employer to intervene immediately to protect the safety of CLASS workers, who they say are not trained in the specialized support that some residents need.
“Like all employers, CLASS management has a responsibility to protect its employees,” said JP Hornick, President of OPSEU/SEFPO. “It is unconscionable that this employer has allowed this working environment to become so dangerous. The employer must address these workers’ safety concerns immediately.”
Workers at CLASS assist individuals in their daily activities and support them in participating in the community. Through social and community activities, employment, and volunteer opportunities, they enhance independence and increase the quality of life of those they support.
“No one should ever have to worry about the risk of getting seriously hurt, hospitalized, or killed at work – but my colleagues and I have been facing that danger every day for months,” says Allan May, President of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 332, which represents CLASS staff. “Management has ignored our repeated suggestions and requests, all while violent behaviour has escalated.”
“It’s time for management to collaborate with the union and find a pathway to a solution; to ensure CLASS is a safe workplace for everyone,” added Hornick.