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Information picket highlights strike deadline

Workers at Community Living Prince Edward (CLPE) held an information picket outside the main office on King Street, Friday morning, bringing attention to an Oct. 26 strike deadline.

CLPE supports people with intellectual disabilities, and their families, in the community with a variety of supports, services and advocacy programs.

“We went to the table ready to bargain,” says Patti Markland, OPSEU Local 448 Bargaining Team Chair. “The employer was unwilling to consider any measures protecting part-time and casual staff. They ignored requests for more reasonable shift length and distribution. In fact, they wouldn’t consider any of our proposals around scheduling at all.”

Markland said CLPE has postponed its long-planned bid for accreditation, although it has been a long and much anticipated process requiring a lot of resources.
“This postponement is a clear indication that CLPE expects further confrontations with staff, who are key to the accreditation process,” said Markland. “We can only understand their decision to postpone accreditation to mean that CLPE continues to be adversarial, and does not intend to negotiate with staff.”

“Community Living Prince Edward is chronically under-staffed. There are currently 90 full-time and 64 part-time staff to serve more than 400 clients,” Markland said.

Markland said there are 23,000 people living with disabilities currently on wait lists for Community Living Ontario. Of these, 80 per cent live at home with parents who are 70-79 years of age. Community Living Ontario represents 114 associations across the province.

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  1. fed up says:

    I know (nasty) bullying when I see it. It doesn’t need name calling—there are other ways to belittle others.

  2. m york says:

    Well from what I have heard mngt. and staff came back to the table to get a fair agreement for everyone. So there is no loosers or winners, everyone wins especially the people that are supported. So congrat’s….

  3. Mark says:

    Well I will finally way in. Unions aren’t killing this country. Perhaps politics gone mad has however most clearly evidenced by the Green Energy Act. Unions are necessary to assist working folks to reach fairness in collective bargaining. This minimum wage argument is off base. It takes a fair wage to survive out there.

  4. Marnie says:

    Fed up, is it “nastiness” to question what these workers are seeking or to suggest that their present situation would be welcomed by many people out there today who cannot find jobs or jobs that pay well? An interchange of opinions does not have to be unpleasant as long as the parties involved refrain from name-calling.

  5. Observer says:

    You go Marnie!!
    Unions are killing this country, makes for lazy and overpaid workers with huge chips on their shoulders. Go work for minimum wage for a year and lets see how you feel then! BOO hoo

  6. fed up says:

    It’s time these entries stopped being a showcase for nastiness.

  7. Marnie says:

    It seems that personalities not issues are your thing Mark. I suggest you look for another sparring partner. I’m not interested.

  8. Mark says:

    We have a new Mark coming in. I(Mark) have purposely not weighed in on this one.

  9. Marnie says:

    It beats being the Eskimo who bought the refrigerator Mark.

  10. Mark! says:

    Marnie,

    It must be nice to have the world figured out like you do.

  11. Marnie says:

    Any opposing point of view must be wrong in your opinion Jennifer. Good that you have all the right answers. I apologize for stressing you by begging to differ. The employer who is refusing to sit down at the bargaining table must have a different point of view as well. One more to educate.

  12. jennifer stringer armstrong says:

    …I don’t actually have a vested intrest…do not currently work at clpe…and an outing doesn’t always cost money…as I said…and I seriously wish I had never clicked on this link because at this point the only lesson is in frustration…please leave it at that as I do not care to continue having this back and forth with you any longer…and again Happy Friday to EVERYONE!

  13. Marnie says:

    Sorry to have been such a dismal pupil Jennifer but you DID say that some of the people that I saw out for lunch or coffee now may have only one weekly outing when at one time in their lives it may have been a daily event. Please e-read your post to refresh your memory. No one is twisting your words.

    I am skeptical of being “educated” by someone with a vested interest. There are always two sides to the coin. You offer only one of them.

  14. jennifer stringer armstrong says:

    …I never said the SAME person should be on various outings daily…but there are hundreds of people so of course they would all need assorted supports within the community…I am officially giving up on trying to educate you Marnie as you literally take what you want from my posts…then focus only on that…and finally twisting my words to suit your own personal beliefs on this subject…so Happy Friday to everyone and goodbye 😀

  15. fed up says:

    No. I am not connected.

  16. Marnie says:

    Are you carrying a picket sign, Fed Up?

  17. fed up says:

    The small minded and mean spirited deserve only to be ignored.

  18. Marnie says:

    Jennifer I don’t buy it. I think it’s great that those receiving assistance are treated to outings, if only occasionally as you suggest. Lots of our senior citizens who have worked hard all their lives may not be able to enjoy any outings at all. They cannot afford taxis and may not have friends who drive. Some of us who work full time are not able to afford to have lunch in a restaurant every day. A meal out is an occasional treat. It seems unrealistic to suggest that you should have increased staff so that daily outings can be made possible for those you support. You proudly state that “United We Stand – Divided We Beg”. Here’s another one for you – Much Wants More and Loses All.

  19. m york says:

    Amen Jennifer 🙂

  20. jennifer stringer armstrong says:

    …if you see somebody enjoying coffee or out and about that is great…if you knew that once upon a time they were able to go for lunch and a coffee or a movie with friends or even just a short nature walk on a daily basis but now are limited due to staffing issues to only have “an outing” once a week or even less what would you think…how about if somebody was used to worshipping at their church of choice every week for years is now limited to going to church much less OR had to change their church of choice to make it a group event in order to go…because there is only a single staff available and 6 people want to go to church…my point is what you SEE is not always what IS or WAS and that peoples lives have been changed and are still changing based solely on work conditions which includes the ever decreasing number of staff and the decreased number of hours given to staff to allow for people to have as high a quality of life as possible inside and outside of their homes…finally since this is in fact NOT a WAGE INCREASE issue that is on the bargaining table your constant references to people that make minimum wage not supporting this strike is really a moot point since one has nothing to do with the other and I am unsure why you keep repeating this?…either way you are beyond ignorant on this entire subject regardless of a possible strike…working/staffing conditions have a huge impact on ALL the people involved…you have a narrow veiw of the assorted services provided and the people that utilize said services within communities all across Ontario…UNITED WE STAND>>>DIVIDED WE BEG!

  21. Brenda Ellis says:

    I have been following this dialogue with much interest.

    I also work in the human services field with individuals with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries and dual diagnosis. I have a college diploma, an applied degree and many certificates that are applied to my area of work. I do not work at Community Living Prince Edward (but have in the past when I held down 3 part time jobs. My degree I acquired while working full time hours on call. The reason I mention this is that I believe I am the “norm” juggling work, education and family. I want to point out that yes I make a good wage, but it is not an over-inflated wage and it reflects my experience and education and is quite comparable in this area.
    I do belong to Local 448 and CLPE employees are members in my local. I support them! There is much deliberation, discussion and negotiation that goes into the collective bargaining process. People do not stike “lightly”, their intent is not to irritate members of their communities by waiving placards and signs. A unionized environment has been agreed upon by management and employees. It is a collective bargaining atmosphere, this means that both partners come to the table to negotiate. This is a give and take process. This is not occurring at CLPE.

    I believe that the “Marnie” discussion has run it’s course. Marnie! Your forthright, honest and a strong advocat for what you believe in. You are obviously devoted and dedicated in defending your opinion. Kudo’s! You have that right, as do our brothers & sisters at CLPE to fight for thier rights. I respect you for your opinon, it would be nice to see you pass on that same respect to these individuals that are doing what they believe is in the best interests of many. Keep in mind that these people will continue to work in this environment, they do not walk away from thier jobs while on strike. This is not an industrial job where everything grinds to a halt because the workers strike. These people will continue to provide essential services while this process continues, they will continue to attempt negotiation with management, they will fight for what they believe is right and just.
    To my brothers & sisters my support and thoughts are with you.
    In Solidarity.

  22. Marnie says:

    No one is arguing that minimum wage would be appropriate for those ‘have went’ to post secondary school, as you state Jennifer. Everyone deserves a fair living wage. Based on what we see in the community on a daily basis, those whose interests these people serve are enjoying a comfortable and happy lifestyle. Many can be seen in our local restaurants on a regular basis and it is gratifying to see that they are able to enjoy such outings and be a real part of the community. Their interests seem to be well served as it stands. Picket all you like but I suspect that a lot of local residents who may not have went to post secondary school and are working in minimum wage jobs are not too impressed by your placards.

  23. jennifer stringer armstrong says:

    …yet again…clpe frontline staff are NOT government workers…and as far as wages go it is NOT the issue…and even if it was MANY frontline staff have went to post secondary school…both college and/or university so the idea that minimum wage would be perfectly fine is quite ludicrous…and finally the working condition is not just for the staff but also for the people they support…I think that not only should you get your fact straight but also realize that the agency is called COMMUNITY Living for a reason and the people the agency supports (in a variety of ways/venues) are a large part of this community and in a lot of cases are unable to fight the fight for themselves and DEPEND on the staff to do their best to facilitate assorted improvements to enhance quality of life…lastly if waving signs is so bothersome to you…try to avoid all the streets…lanes and avenues in which the homes of these people are located…and all the grocery stores…gas stations etc that these people use regularly and you should not only miss any signs but also the people they represent…Luck to all my brothers and sisters 😀

  24. Marnie says:

    Wave a sign and accomplish what? A few motorists will honk at you and you may get your picture in the local papers. Will anything change? No. Sorry Andy but I prefer to declare any disappointments that I might have with my councillors at the ballot box not in a picket line. But if you think it will help go for it. I’ll be happy to honk in support of your efforts.

  25. Andy Sparks says:

    M YORK: “Do we deserve…NO, do we deserve…No, Should something be done NOW to stop it YES!!!!…something needs to happen before we loose much more. We have all seen what everyone’s voices can do and now we need it much more than ever…We don’t have to wait for another election as we have all witnessed elsewhere, there are options available to the taxpayers.”

    Sounds like you should take your complaints to Shire Hall with some picket signs (but don’t expect Marnie to sympathize with your protest).

  26. m york says:

    Marnie, I so agree !!! However, I did vote for Boyd and have never had a problem sharing that… Do we deserve to have crappy water NO, do we deserve to have all these brain dead ideas that the councillors are agreeing to No, Should something be done NOW to stop it YES!!!! like i and many others have stated before something needs to happen before we loose much more. We have all seen what everyone’s voices can do and now we need it much more than ever.Top dog’s vacation, trips we can’t afford,cuts where its proven its hurting the town shall i say more??? We don’t have to wait for another election as we have all witnessed elsewhere, there are options available to the taxpayers.

  27. Marnie says:

    m. york when the voters went to the polls the last time they had an opportunity to vote for change. It seems they were satisfied with the status quo for a number of councillors were re-elected or acclaimed for another term. Maybe we are getting what we deserve. Given the way they waste our money nothing these counillors do surprises me. The few who do try to put the brakes on are always voted down. At the all candidates’ meeting that I attended mayoral candidate Paul Boyd vowed to stop the spending and made it clear that he did not approve of it. Very few people voted for him.

  28. m york says:

    Marnie, I also know many County employees that are also working two jobs in order to pay their bills. In this time and age one job does not cut it no matter what your job is. No longer can the wife/mom stay home and raise their children. It has nothing to do with what job you have but rather how much it costs in order to survive…. I have to ask you though what is your feelings in this weeks Wellington Times about some individuals heading to the Carribean at the CAO’s suggestion and council’s approval of it. They claim it isn’t going to cost anything??? I agree with Councillor Forrester’s comment, “Should we be doing this now with all the cuts and changes going on, how can we sell it to the public”?????? There is all this talk about the workers/unionized but here we go again and mngt. is packing their bags for holidays and big Carribean ideas. I believe we all should be saying Mngt. needs to be setting an example here and that THEY need to get their Sh** together firstly…. Keep cutting and our services will keep diminishing (water). Rumor has it they have dwindled the water distribution crew down to two workers to work the six distribution systems in the county, and we have dirty water/issues WHY??? HELLO

  29. Marnie says:

    I respect your opinions Andy. I just don’t agree with all that you have to say. These people, in comparison with many in today’s work force, have it made in the shade. They are receiving a LOT more than minimum wage. You ask to whom they should turn for help, now. I am not convinced that they even need it. You seem very concerned about them but what about the hundreds of other workers in our community who feel they have legitimate complaints too?

    I agree that we have carried this discussion as far as it needs to go but I will add one more point. We live in a county where young people are forced to leave every day because well-paying jobs are few and far between. A large number of people in our community work part-time at two or more jobs, usually for minimum wage. I have a friend who is working five casual jobs in a struggle to make ends meet. Who supports them and fights for improvements in their status? Who cares about them? It is a little insensitive of some of the lucky ones to wave picket signs in a town like ours where so many find it difficult to make a living. A lot of people in our town would love to have their jobs warts and all.

  30. Andy Sparks says:

    MARNIE: “These people have every right to strive to improve their working conditions but I do not for a moment believe that they are presently being treated like sweat shop workers.”

    Did anyone make that claim?

    MARNIE: “I also suspect that they are being paid substantially more than many people in the work force today.”

    If by “more than many people in the work force today” you mean “minimum wage,” then, well, what can I say?

    MARNIE: “If they want to negotiate better working conditions, fine, but why should they expect a wave of public support for their efforts?”

    Why does this bother you so much?
    Who do you turn to when you need help?

    MARNIE: “How does waving a sign help, anyhow? Is it supposed to embarrass the employer?”

    Waving a sign creates awareness of a situation. We are aware now, and it’s up to those of us who are now aware to either support them (in whatever way we can), do nothing (fair enough, not everyone *can* help), or publicly complain, which is your right…but you seem to not even want to TRY and see it from their side despite my entreaties and the other comments here.

    Lest this become a parody of the interminable wind power comments (and the last sentence of my previous post here), I’m bowing out now since I’ve said all I can about this.

  31. Marnie says:

    Okay, Andy, let’s try it again. These people have every right to strive to improve their working conditions but I do not for a moment believe that they are presently being treated like sweat shop workers. I also suspect that they are being paid substantially more than many people in the work force today. If they want to negotiate better working conditions, fine, but why should they expect a wave of public support for their efforts? How does waving a sign help, anyhow? Is it supposed to embarrass the employer?

  32. fed up says:

    Unions are the backbone of our economy and have been largely responsible for the quality of life we experience in Canada. Let’s remember what life was like before unions—and if you want to know some of what workers went through to establish their right to form unions, research the Winnipeg Strike of 1919. Maybe then you can make informed comments about unions.

  33. clpe employee says:

    And just to make it aware. Our bargaining team was at the table ready to bargain…….that is the truth. We r willing to bargain but not getting a positive response!!

  34. clpe employee says:

    I work with this agency. If people want to judge so be it!!! We work our buts off to make the lives of the people we support better. Over the last couple years we have had staffing cutbacks which has greatly affected the lives of the people we support. We have all done a great job with working around the extra staff when we do get it to make sure the people we support do some they they would like to do. This is leading to burn out in a lot of cases!! In a lot of peoples minds….. It is not about the money whatsoever. As for accreditation… .it was cancelled. Front line staff worked hard to help see this happen…….just as hard or harder then the upper portion. Of the agency. With accreditation cancelled…..makes me very disappointed. It was a time where we could have shown……we provide quality supports as a whole. We have also been working very hard to better the communities opinions and steeotyprs of people.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions……this is mine. Its easier for those on the outside to make their judgements. But none of u have a clue with what we work through on a day to day basis. Thank you to those who do support us……..its appreciated.

  35. Andy Sparks says:

    MARNIE: “I also believe that whatever dissatisfactions they may have with their hours of employment, wages etc. are not that different from what all of us in the work force experience.”

    So what you are saying is that you understand that their situation is bad and you understand that they’re trying to improve their work environment. Correct?

    MARNIE: “We all have the option of changing our occupations if the working conditions do not suit us and we feel unfairly treated.”

    Rather than try to change and improve the situation they’re in, they should just leave? If your work situation became unreasonably difficult, would you take it? Would you leave it? Or would you try to improve it?

    MARNIE: “I support these workers’ right to protest their working conditions through their union but I don’t think they should be waving picket signs to garner public support.”

    If you support their right to protest, then you have to accept that they’ll probably be waving some signs around. Exactly how does their attempt to garner public support affect you in a negative way –especially compared to their unsatisfactory working conditions, which you have already claimed to understand?

    MARNIE: “A lot of people in today’s work force have situations just as bad or worse than theirs.”

    In other words, they should accept bad working conditions because the job market sucks. Again, I refer you to my questions in my second point.

    But look what’s happening here: a group of workers are in a difficult work situation and express their dissatisfaction publicly…then someone (MARNIE) expresses her annoyance at their expression of dissatisfaction…then someone else (ME) calls Marnie on her unwillingness to truly empathize/sympathize with the first group…then, more than likely, someone will call ME out and complain about my complaints about Marnie’s complaints about the workers’ complaints.

  36. Marnie says:

    Paul, I appreciate your comments and I am certain that many of these workers are dedicated people who are genuinely concerned for those they serve. However, I also believe that whatever dissatisfactions they may have with their hours of employment, wages etc. are not that different from what all of us in the work force experience. We all have the option of changing our occupations if the working conditions do not suit us and we feel unfairly treated. I support these workers’ right to protest their working conditions through their union but I don’t think they should be waving picket signs to garner public support. A lot of people in today’s work force have situations just as bad or worse than theirs. It would be interesting to know how much the picketers make an hour in their jobs? Maybe their rate of pay acknowledges their difficult working conditions?

  37. Paul Cole says:

    I think its perfectly fine that you don t support these folks Marnie its your right and also your right to express an opinion. That being said I support these folks based on the support they provided to my Son and my Family.They do their jobs VERY well and go the extra mile thay take pride in their work and they truly care.Eva Morris attended school meetings with us, taking notes and just supporting us, sometimes after hours in the evening she would come to our home to discuss options available to our Son.Others in the office were also quick to provide anything we needed.As far as unions go it provides an oppotunity for the workers to collectively bargain for better working conditions, job security or better pay. They would be fools not to use the tools or resources available at the bargaining table.Everyone wants the best deal possible whether it be buying a new car or a work contract.

  38. m york says:

    So i just read a notice about the dirty water in PEC that stated that it was due to work being done and that fall flushing would not be happening until 2013. So, i did a little research on-line of course and it states hydrants are flushed to improve the water and take out the silt,dirt and debris from the lines. Considering the pipes are probably 100 years old in most spots this would seem to be a dumb thing not to of completed????? So it will be interesting to see if this continues over the winter months and if so then what and why wasn’t it done before this work was started because fall flushing was to be completed BEFORE this work was even started according to the county’s own websit hmmmmm did someone drop the ball, sort of seems that way. Check it out people its all there in black and white. The County’s way of fixing the problem temporarily is to run your water, ya and we can really afford that everyday.

  39. m york says:

    Marnie, Sometimes the fight is for the people they support and i have a family member who once recieved support from Community Living, they have since passed however. We needed the help and the staff was there 24/7 in the good days and bad and i have witnessed them going the extra mile for the individual and then be slapped for it by mngt. So you see its not necessarily about money all the time but rather working conditions that sometimes are very HARD 🙁
    Its the same everywhere and yes i do believe that unions also protect the bad worker (unfortunately) but still in this day and age to often more work is piled on the employees while the wage is decreased, so if this happens then yes i do believe a union is a good thing. And if there is enough money where mngt. positions continue getting bonuses and raises then why shouldn’t the employee this is also happening in the County as we speak, fair is fair wouldn’t you agree???

  40. Marnie says:

    I think all of us in the work force have walked in the shoes of those overworked unionized employees, M. York. We’ve had experience with being underpaid, overworked and under-appreciated. These picketers are not in a unique situation. They may have legitimate grievances but I’m not sure why they think the community should take up their cause. Many of us do not begin to earn what they make. We’d be dancing in the streets, if we did.

  41. m york says:

    As usual its all about hiring more FAT CATS with higher wages and less front line workers. I do know how hard these individuals work and the love and care they provide as i have seen it first hand. Obviously a COUPLE of re-occuring individuals think differently about unionized employees and thats their opinion…. However, they should walk a day in someone’s else’s shoes and maybe they would see things differently, but as the OLD saying goes change is obviously hard for some.

  42. Marnie says:

    These employees are fortunate that they have been able to bargain in the past and can at least make the attempt now. They have some protection. Many who lose their jobs or have poor working conditions today are not unionized and have no one to speak for them. A lot of people in the work force are unappreciated and work long hours. I believe they call it having a job. If every employee who was disgruntled with his or her boss and with their working conditions ran to the picket line it would stretch the full length of Main Street.

  43. Paul Cole says:

    Having experienced the services these folks provide I personally support them. I know they supported my family by attending IEP (Individual Education Plan) meetings with school administration,answering questions and providing information for parents of Children with learning disabilities their knowledge and kind caring attitudes are invaluable in helping get the supports in place to help kids with a learning disability succeed in school.

  44. also fed up says:

    First off, nobody is looking for a “wage increase”. Also, they are not “government employees”. And many of these employees do not recieve “benefits”. No one has asked anyone to wear a “black arm band”. This agency has hired new Managers and cut back on staffing for the homes. These employees were turned away at the bargaining table, then informed that Accreditation has been postponed,frontline staff are not appreciated and have put in many many hours preparing for this. CLPE employees are not looking for sympathy, only support. It is our communities most vulnerable, that are being affected.

  45. Marnie says:

    WHy is it that certain groups of government employees feel entitlement and expect public support when negotiating wage increases? What about the thousands of people in the private sector who work for much less pay and far fewer benefits? No one seems to notice or care about them. When county employees are threatened with job loss some people expect us to wear black armbands, but if it is the single mother working at a retirement home or in a Picton store who loses her job, no one comments on it. The community is already supporting government workers with fat pay envelopes. A lot of people are unhappy in their jobs. Why are these workers special? We should save our sympathy for non-union workers who lose their minimum wage jobs.

  46. Sabrina says:

    People being supported deserve the best we as a community can offer, are they getting this?

  47. fed up says:

    What a useless and narrow minded comment!

  48. DEE says:

    Give the County taxpayers a break… be grateful you get any shifts !!!

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