CUPE Local 4914 representing child protection workers, administrative and support staff are on strike. Information has been circulating about a number of issues – here are some facts.
It is common practice for an employer to cease benefits for striking employees during a labour disruption.
Although Employment Insurance Benefits are not typically accessible to employees involved in a labour dispute; employees in extenuating circumstances may consider applying for Employment Insurance Benefits. Peel Children's Aid will support the application.
The union has a fund to assist its members who may be facing difficulties during a strike.
To continue benefits for employees during the strike, CUPE Local 4914 offered to pay benefit premiums; however, Peel CAS’s plan is not a premium based plan but a ‘pay as you use it’ plan. There are no premiums to pay; however, the union has the option of covering health care costs for its members while they are on strike.
70% of Peel CAS operating costs are for salary & benefits – it is the highest cost the agency has in operating the agency. Any increases in staff complement, increases in salary and benefits and job reclassification changes have a financial impact. For example:
A salary increase of 1.5% for each employee increases costs by $700,000 each year.
The addition of a new front line child protection worker increases costs by about $88,000 (mid range salary and benefits) each year. This cost grows each year as wage increases are added in.
Salary increases are the same for all employees including management staff. The CEO’s salary is established by the Board of Directors.
In 2010, the provincial government froze salaries for two years for all public service employees including CASs. This was a province-wide freeze.
Management staff salaries were frozen in 2010 and 2011. Peel CAS unionized employees had a collective agreement in place during those years that provided them with an increase in wages. The salary freeze for unionized staff occurred in 2012 and 2013.