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WALKERTON, Ont. CAS Workers at the Children’s Aid Society of the County of Bruce voted 95 per cent to strike if a fair deal is not reached in contract talks with management. The 52 child protection and administration support workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are facing heavy workloads, low wages and inferior benefits compared with other CAS agencies.
We are united to improve working conditions, said Shelley Walmsely, president of CUPE 2194. We are looking for a fair contract that addresses key issues such as heavy workloads and inferior compensation. Compared to other CAS agencies, our members are being short-changed and we demand to be treated fairly.
In the Ontario Auditor General’s value-for-money audit, the report recommends CAS agencies establish caseload benchmarks for front-line workers. It’s been a year since the report by the auditor general and this agency has yet to set caseload caps to address heavy workloads and staff retention issues this must be dealt with now, said Mike Dunn, CUPE national representative.
Neighbouring Grey County and Huron-Perth CAS agencies signed new agreements with their workers, addressing similar wage and workload issues faced by Bruce County CAS workers. Our agency is funded by the same government using the same funding criteria, yet we are paid less than other agencies, stressed Walmsely. We are doing the same work, delivering the same services to our clients. It’s time for management to deal with this glaring wage and benefits disparity.
Conciliation talks are scheduled for Thursday, November 22. The workers’ last contract expired on March 31, 2007. We hope that with the help of a conciliation officer, management will address issues that will improve working conditions at the agency, said Dunn.
For further information, please contact:
Mike Dunn, CUPE National Representative: 519-743-7781
James Chai, CUPE Communications: 416-292-3999