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OSHAWA, Ont. – Participation House staff in the Durham Region, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2936-01, have chosen to stand up for the services they deliver after talks broke off when the parties were unable to reach a settlement.

On Thursday, May 31, negotiations reached a point where CUPE 2936-01 was left with no choice but to file for a No Board report with the Ministry of Labour.

“This is not a decision we have made lightly, said CUPE 2936-01 President Wanda Follett. We are calling on Participation House to negotiate a fair contract that supports the people who deliver services at Participation House and avoid a disruption to those services.”

Participation House staff provide needs-specific supports to youth and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities within the community, assisting them to develop and maintain independent living skills and a better quality of life. CUPE 2936-01 members are committed to providing services to the people who rely on their supports, but chronic underfunding of the services, and the staff that deliver those services, presents major challenges.

After years of commitment to the agency and community, the workers who deliver these services feel they cannot continue to absorb the costs of underfunding.

“Wages are important but not the only issue. Most of us work part-time, with the hours of work spread across numerous part-time positions. Part-time work does not support continuity in service delivery. More and more part-time staff are being hired, instead of creating full-time opportunities. With 51 part-time and casual positions and 17 full-time positions, CUPE 2936-01 members’ earnings find themselves below the poverty level,” added Follett.

Most part-time workers at the agency have two or even three jobs. In fact, many full-time workers need more than one job to make ends meet.

“We are calling on the employer to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a settlement and to discuss how we can work together to maintain service delivery and advocate to secure the funding needed to ensure consistent quality supports for the people and families CUPE 2936-01 members serve,” concluded CUPE National Representative Rob Cull.

CUPE 2936-01 will be in a legal strike/lockout position at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 23.

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For information:

Rob Cull, CUPE National Representative: (905) 433-4760

Marjorie Savoie, CUPE Communications: (613) 864-9924