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Striking CUPE members criticize executive


With a renewed effort on the picket lines yesterday, Fort Frances and District Association for Community Living (ACL) employees have taken aim at their executive director, Alanna Barr, blaming her for a lack of negotiations.

“It’s very frustrating when you have one person controlling everything and she’s not willing to budge,” noted Gwen Miller, president of CUPE local 65.

The CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) local 65 members have now been on strike for 106 days and yesterday gathered in front of the Association’s offices on Scott Street to express their anger and concerns.

They were joined by CUPE Ontario’s secretary-treasurer Brian O’Keefe.

“We’ve got an outrageous situation where the management of this agency has refused to go two the table, it’s totally unacceptable,” said O’Keefe.

“What’s really obnoxious is the executive director has shut this down,” he added. “The service is not being provided so the families of clients have to look after them at home, and clients are tying up valuable hospital beds.”

The ACl employees have been on strike since May 11, demanding a wage increase and a pension plan.

No talks have taken place since the strike began and no talks are scheduled.

“One would hope that the board of directors would hold the executive accountable,” said O’Keefe. “What we have is two things, we have an obstinate executive director and we’ve got a provincial government that’s doing diddly-squat.”

The union members argue that provincial government has promised $30 million in funding for wages but so far none of that funding has been seen here.

“We’re hoping to appeal to the community here to take a stance, to put pressure on the board and on the executive director,” urged O’Keefe.

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