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Community Living Algoma locks out employees

Community Living Algoma locked out its workers at 11 p.m. Wednesday, after they rejected a tentative settlement reached Tuesday in mediation.
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Community Living Algoma locked out its workers at 11 p.m. Wednesday, after they rejected a tentative settlement reached Tuesday in mediation.

The lockout occurred even though members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) offered to stay on the job as further negotiations took place.

John Policicchio, chief executive officer of Community Living Algoma, said the action was taken because union members were in a position to legally withdraw their services at any time.

"That uncertainty is not acceptable to Community Living Algoma in fulfilling its obligations to the people it supports," Policicchio said.

"For their safety and security, we need to [have] confidence that there will be support workers who are committed to working each and every day throughout the labour dispute. "

The following are separate news releases issued tonight by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Community Living Algoma: **************************************************************** Community Living Algoma Workers Vote Down Tentative Agreement - Offer to Remain on the Job Out of Concern for Clients

SAULT STE. MARIE, April 23 - Members of Local 1880 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 400 Community Living Algoma workers, today voted down a tentative agreement reached in mediated talks yesterday.

"In heavy turnout for the vote today, members rejected the employer's offer," said CUPE 1880 negotiator Matthew Cavaliere.

"At this time we have offered, through the provincial conciliator, to meet again with our employer to try and address issues of concern.

"In addition, out of concern for our clients, we have offered to remain on the job in the meantime."

***************************************************************** Community Living Algoma Disappointed by Union Vote

Community Living Algoma employees have rejected a tentative settlement reached in mediation.

In a very close vote, the union membership turned down a settlement that provided wage increases in excess of 7% over three years.

"After a very successful day of talks yesterday with the assistance of a Ministry of Labour mediator, we are disappointed that the membership of CUPE Local 1880 has rejected this tentative memorandum of settlement," states John Policicchio, CEO.

"In addition to the significant wage increase, the union had obtained the creation of 14 full-time positions in the first year.

"This would have alleviated some of the scheduling and workload issues discussed earlier in negotiations.

"We are not sure that these enhancements for the union will still be available in the event of a future settlement.

"The bargaining unit had also identified job security as an outstanding issue, which we addressed in a letter of understanding, crafted with suggestions from the union negotiating committee.

"While the negotiating committee accepted these changes, however, the membership has voted to reject the settlement in what we understand was a very close vote."

Policicchio went on to say, "Now that we are aware that the union has rejected the settlement, our attention must shift to the people we support."

The union members now have a legal right to withdraw their services at any time.

That uncertainty is not acceptable to Community Living Algoma in fulfilling its obligations to the people it supports.

"For their safety and security, we need to confidence that there will be support workers who are committed to working each and every day throughout the labour dispute.

"In order to be certain of continuity of support, we have decided to lock out the bargaining unit employees at 11:00 p.m. this evening.

"We regret having to take this action but have been left with no alternative but to proceed with the implementation of our contingency plan.

"We are confident that the alternative support plans and the assistance from families and other workers will be able to continue to meet the basic daily needs of the people and ensure their safety during this labour dispute."

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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