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Community Living Algoma residents at risk, CUPE says

The Canadian Union of Public Employees said today that Community Living Algoma (CLA) has set the stage for a long labour disruption by locking out its members.
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The Canadian Union of Public Employees said today that Community Living Algoma (CLA) has set the stage for a long labour disruption by locking out its members. In a news release, the union also claimed that residents are being placed at risk by CLA's decision to use replacement workers.

As SooToday News reported last night, CLA locked out members of CUPE Local 1880 at 11 p.m.

"These workers are not asking for the moon," says CUPE National Representative Trish Andrews.

"They only want a modest wage increase after years of virtually no increases at all, and basic protection against contracting out."

Are family respite workers scabs?

Today, we heard from one of numerous family respite workers in Algoma who take CLA clients into their homes in a manner similar to foster parents.

This individual was distraught that she's being characterized as a scab because she accepted a new client during the past week.

She says she asked the CLA staffer who called whether this would make her a replacement worker and was assured that it wouldn't.

CUPE has advised her that she was misinformed, the woman, who does not wish to be identified, told us.

The phones at Community Living Algoma were shunted to a messaging service today.

The following is the full text of today's CUPE release:

**************************************************************** Community Living Algoma management locks out workers

Puts residents at risk

SAULT STE. MARIE, April 24 - Community Living Algoma management today locked out members of Local 1880 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 400 Community Living Algoma workers, despite the union's offer to remain on the job past the legal lockout/strike deadline. "This employer has put residents in jeopardy by yanking us out of the workplace and bringing in scabs - despite our show of good will," says Matthew Cavaliere, CUPE 1880 negotiator.

"After our members voted against the employer's offer yesterday, we offered to return to the table to try and address areas of concern - yet management saw fit to lock us out instead, setting the stage for a long disruption that will hurt the people we care for." "These workers are not asking for the moon," says CUPE National Representative Trish Andrews.

"They only want a modest wage increase after years of virtually no increases at all, and basic protection against contracting out.

"It's a shame the employer chose to fight it's own workers instead of standing up to the provincial government and demanding adequate funding." "We did everything imaginable to reach an agreement, and we were willing to continue to negotiate," says Cavaliere.

"It now looks like management was preparing for a lockout all along. Our clients deserve better, and we will ask parents and the community to help us put pressure on the employer to get back to the table.

"Now we will hold our heads up high as we walk the picket line, knowing our fight is as much about the future quality of services as it is about fair wages for ACL workers." CUPE represents 400 workers at Community Living Algoma, serving communities throughout the district.

These support workers, cooks, cleaners, social workers, supportive living, supportive housing, life skills workers and counsellors are dedicated professionals, offering round-the-clock care and support services to residents and clients with exceptional needs, many with severe physical and behavioural difficulties.

**************************************************************** EDITOR'S NOTE: This unrelated news release was also issued by CUPE this afternoon:

Algoma Health Unit workers and board ratify collective agreement

SAULT STE. MARIE, April 24 - The Board of Directors of the Algoma Health Unit and Local 1528 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have ratified a three-year collective agreement.

CUPE represents 60 Health Unit employees.

"In addition to wage improvements of 3%, 3% and 2.5% over three years, we won improvements in benefits and contract language," says CUPE Local 1528 President Louise Primeau.

"Negotiations took a long time, but were positive," says CUPE National Representative Trish Andrews.

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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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