Employees at the Amherst and District Residential Services Society are preparing to walk off the job if government doesn’t come back to the table with a fair wage offer. The employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 5204, voted 93 % in favour of job action.
Kim Cail, National Representative for CUPE, says the large turnout for yesterday’s strike vote was indicative of how community services workers across the province are feeling about the stalled negotiations at the lead table.
“Many community services workers haven’t had a wage increase in more than three years,” says Cail. “They can’t make rent, they can’t pay their bills. It’s time for government to come back to the table with a wage offer that respects the critical services these employees provide.”
Local 5204 President Lacey Robinson says all local issues were resolved last year, and members are tired of waiting for provincial government to settle wages and benefits and the other outstanding proposals.
“The workers are feeling downtrodden, unappreciated and disrepected,” she says. “The last thing we want is to leave the residents without our care and support, but at the moment we can’t afford to live.”
The 26 counsellors, who work at two group homes in Amherst, provide care for people with disabilities, including administering medications and treatments.
Local 5204 is third community services local to hold a positive strike vote.