'No board' report triggers strike countdown at CWSDS: Union

Sides negotiating since March 31
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 08/15/2017

The bargaining team for 340 employees with Central West Specialized Developmental Services (CWSDS) in Oakville, Ont., has asked the Ministry of Labour for a "no board" report.

Once the ministry issues the report, a legal strike or lockout may take place on the 17th calendar day following, said the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

The two sides have been negotiating since the previous collective agreement expired on March 31. An initial offer of $0.10 per hour in each of two years was soundly rejected by 91 per cent of union members.  The two sides met with a government-appointed conciliator on Aug. 8, but no progress was made. However, both sides have agreed to mediation before the possible strike or lockout date, according to OPSEU.

"We're dedicated professionals committed to providing caring, quality services to our clients," said Sue Walker, president of OPSEU Local 249. "One of our top priorities is ensuring our services foster the inclusion and dignity that adults with developmental disabilities have a right to. However, the employer doesn't think we deserve the same kind of dignity, not when they're offering us dimes."

CWSDS staff provide residential services in group homes across Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, Halton Hills, and Georgetown. They also provide a range of treatment services, including counselling, nursing, speech-language pathology, behaviour therapy, and psychology services, said the union.

"I clearly recall the disruptions of 2007 caused by a series of strikes in developmental services," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU president. "At the time, this same Liberal government promised to stabilize the sector. OPSEU firmly believes that a fair deal, comparable to the deals offered to the bigger players, is the only way to bring the stability that developmental services workers deserve and that their clients need."

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