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Selkirk Community Living workers prepare to strike

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Workers at a Selkirk non-profit are getting ready to go on strike over a wage dispute.

Employees at Community Living Selkirk, a non-profit organization that offers support and living assistance to people with intellectual disabilities, are expected to hit the picket line on Aug. 8 at 8 a.m.

On July 9, members of the union voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action, according to a news release from CUPE Local 3085, which represents the employees.

"We have done everything in our power to avoid a strike situation," CUPE national representative Sheree Capar said in the release.

The workers' most recent contract expired in September 2013 and the union has been negotiating for a wage increase.

That's the main issue for workers, Capar said. She said Selkirk Community Living says it's unable to provide more than one per cent increases to wages each year. The workers are asking for more.

"We’re asking for a living wage or a plan to get to a living wage," she said.

CUPE criticized a move by Community Living to bring in other workers during the strike.

"The fact that Community Living Selkirk can afford to pay expensive private replacement workers and not their own employees is shocking," Capar said in the release.

Jim Croy, a volunteer on the board of directors for Selkirk Community Living, said the workers are entitled to the strike action they’re taking.

"We certainly don’t argue with the staff’s right to strike," he said.

But Croy said bringing in other workers to take over during the strike is necessary for services to continue.

"While they’re doing that (the strike), the only thing that matters to us is the safety of the residents."

The issue is also larger than just what’s happening in Selkirk, both Capar and Croy said. The issue of wages is one that is repeated in homes like Community Living across the province.

"This is a larger problem than what we’re having in Selkirk. It’s a much bigger picture," Croy said.

Members of CUPE local 3085 will host an information picket on Tuesday at noon outside of the office of family services minister Kerri Irvin Ross.

 

 

 

 

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