ACL awaiting CUPE proposal to resume talks

The board and management of the Fort Frances and District Association for Community Living are waiting to hear from striking employees to resume contract talks.
“The association remains willing to return to the bargaining table at any time,” ACL executive director Alanna Barr said. “We are fully prepared to discuss all language and monetary issues.
“The last formal proposal in bargaining came from the association, and we would expect a formal response from the union,” she added.
ACL workers, members of CUPE Local #65, have been on strike for 42 days, leaving administration to run all programs and services except for Good Impressions Printing, the Treasure Chest, and the community activity centre, which remain closed.
“So far, our clients have been patient and understanding through this process,” said Barr. “We certainly appreciate that as we look forward to a settlement and a return to our normal operations.”
CUPE members are demanding higher wages and a pension plan which administration says it does not have the funding to provide.
While administration is offering a pay hike of one percent (non-retroactive) in 2001 and 1.5 percent in 2002, the union is demanding five percent in 2001 and five percent in 2002.
“We would hope the union’s next monetary proposal would include some moderation in their monetary demands,” said Barr.
“The union knows from discussions and documents at the bargaining table that the association is not in a position to meet their current demands.”
Both ACL administration and CUPE #65 members have appealed for more funding from the province.
“There’s nothing at all at this point. We’re still waiting to hear from the ministry,” noted CUPE national representative Jules Tupker.
“The employees had KPMG do a study to see that ACL is 25 percent under funded,” he added.
Meanwhile, there have been no talks at all since the employees hit the picket lines May 11.
“The picketers are fantastic,” said Tupker. “They’re still 100 percent behind the strike and staying strong and, in the meantime, we hope we can get things resolved.”