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April 16, 2013 Letter to families receiving support (PDF) 312kb

April 16, 2013

 

To people receiving support through CLGW and their families:

 

As you are aware, representatives from Community Living Guelph Wellington and CUPE 4392 have been meeting to try and reach a new Collective Agreement. Our last Agreement expired March 31, 2012.

The objective of CLGW has been, and continues to be the achievement of a Collective Agreement which serves the best interests of people supported by the Association and their families. We must also reach a reasonable and responsible agreement which addresses matters of importance to our employees and the Board of Directors within the parameters established by the government through the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Any agreement cannot compromise the viability of the organization or the high standard of care for our supported persons.

 

We have reached agreement on many “language” items. There have been three sessions held with a Conciliation Officer from the Ministry of Labour to try and resolve monetary issues including a meeting yesterday, April 15.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach agreement on compensation, and as a result, the union has asked the Conciliation Officer to issue a ‘No Board Report”.  We may be headed towards a work stoppage (strike/lockout) as early as 12:01 am on May 11, 2013.

 

At the conclusion of negotiations yesterday, CLGW offered modest wage increases of .5% and .8% in each of the two years (2012/2013 and 2013/2014), with retro payments for year one of $175 for Full-time, $125 Part-Time and $100 for Relief.  We have offered this despite having no funding increase to support it, but feel that we could manage this level of an increase within our existing budget without seriously impairing the level of care being provided.  The Union has rejected this offer and is holding to its demands of 1.25% in each of two years.  The difference amounts to approximately $170,000 annually – we simply do not have this money.  In these circumstances, the Board has directed that we cannot agree to such an increase as it would create a substantial deficit.  A deficit would have a detrimental impact and lead to lay-offs and service reductions. If we are forced to reduce services and not meet our Ministry service targets, funding will be reduced, and we will have even fewer dollars with which to operate.

 

Due to the present situation, we are in the process of determining what services we will be able to provide in the event of a labour disruption.  Services and supports will have to be reduced and changed as a result. All direct support employees are members of the union and can participate in a legal strike and will be impacted by a lockout. If a work stoppage occurs (strike or lockout), we will attempt to keep service disruption to a minimum, however, there will be an impact on everyone. As plans are being finalized, we will be in communication to explain the impact on you and/or your family member.

 

Sincerely,

Bob Butella

Executive Director

 

MISSION STATEMENT

We are dedicated to facilitating opportunities for people with developmental

disabilities to realize their potential and dreams in their communities.

March 5th Update

 

TO:                        Families of People Supported by CLGW

FROM:                  CLGW Board of Directors and Bob Butella

RE:                        Updates

 

DATE:                   March 5, 2013

 

We are writing today to provide some updates related to local and Provincial issues faced by CLGW and the Developmental Services sector.

 

Negotiations: CUPE Local 4392 and CLGW have met several times since October 2012 to reach a new Collective Agreement , as our last contract expired March 31, 2012. We have reached agreement on many language issues, however, we have significant differences between wage demands and a wage offer. Another meeting with a Conciliation officer from the Ministry of Labour has been booked for April 15, 2013.

 

We hope to reach agreement at that meeting. If agreement is not reached on April 15, the parties: may agree to meet again; or may ask for a No Board Report from the Ministry of Labour. If a No Board is issued, the Union would be in a strike position sometime early to mid- May. The Association would also be in a legal lock out position at the same time.

 

Update(s) will be provided as soon as possible after the meeting on April 15th.

 

CLGW Financial Position: CLGW has faced a base budget freeze since the 2009/2010 fiscal year. During this period, we have received several one-time and ongoing amounts of funding for specific purposes including repairs to properties, support enhancements, etc.

 

Obviously, our operating costs continue to rise and we see increased expenses for insurance, utilities, employee compensation, food, etc. Over the past year, we have also experienced some extraordinary support costs for several individuals in service. Because of the funding freeze we have had to put in place measures that allow us to pay for these increased costs. In January, CLGW made some reductions in non-direct support hours for both unionized and nonunionized employees. It was our goal to minimize disruption to employees and people supported by the organization when these reductions were put in place.

 

Through this reduction in employee hours, and the addition of some one-time MCSS funding, directed to help deal with the extraordinary support situations, and other cost containment  strategies, we expect to be in a close to break- even financial position by March 31st.

 

Provincial Issues: The Developmental Services sector in Ontario faces many challenges and issues including: growing waitlists; SSAH to Passport transition; Passport; ODSP reform; Ombudsman Review; and Proxy Pay Equity. At this time, we would like to comment only on the Proxy Pay Equity issue.

 

Proxy Pay Equity was introduced in 1993 to help improve wages in female dominated work sectors like Developmental Services. In 1993, CLGW and more than 85% of DS agencies were required by the Pay Equity legislation to compare our jobs with those from specified hospitals. Once the comparison was completed, Target Rates for wages for our workers were established.

 

Proxy Pay Equity rules require employers to increase wages by an amount equal to 1% of the previous year’s payroll until Pay Equity is achieved. Target Rates do not remain static, Target Rates are increased when Cost of Living or other negotiated wage increases are given.  In our situation, the gap between what we pay now and our (new) Pay Equity Target Rates is relatively unchanged since 1993 –even though our current rates of pay are higher than the original Target Rates.

 

Since 2010, the government has not provided any base funding increases that could be used to make required Pay Equity adjustments. Pay Equity rules also state that an employer cannot reduce staff numbers or hours to find the money to make these adjustments. This means that CLGW owes employees a significant amount of back pay and wage adjustments moving forward to meet annual 1% increase that we have not been able to provide. Without funding, we would have to find an additional 1% each year within our already frozen budget. We are not alone. In a recent survey, more than 70% of DS agencies using the Proxy Method are behind in making Pay Equity adjustments. Across the province, the Proxy rules, and the government’s decision to not fund this liability could result in a loss of 7.2 million hours of service and job losses of up to 3,600 positions.

 

Under the direction of OASIS (Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs), CLGW is taking a lead in the Fairness as Equity campaign. A group of Executive directors is currently meeting with politicians from all parties and bureaucrats from several Ministries including: Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour; Ministry of Health and Long Term Care; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Pay Equity Commission. The meetings are being used to inform people, who can make a difference, of the issues surrounding Proxy Pay Equity in Developmental Services. Solutions to the Proxy issues are also being discussed. Most people we have met with, through the campaign, were unaware of the issues, or at least the size of the problem. All have thanked us for focusing on one issue as (noted above), there are many issues that need to be addressed.

 

The next phase of the Fairness as Equity campaign will require help from you and members of other DS agencies from across the province. Details on how you can help will be made available over the coming month(s).

 

If you have questions or concerns about this update, or any of the other Provincial items listed in this Memo, please attend a future Board meeting (4th Wednesday of every month, beginning at 6:00 p.m.), or contact Bob Butella at 226-314-0824.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bob Butella

Executive Director

Community living Guelph Wellington