ACL, workers set to return to bargaining table

CUPE Local #65 representatives and Fort Frances and District Association for Community Living administrators are returning to the bargaining table Tuesay after the province announced funding for the organization.
On Friday, Community and Social Services minister John Baird announced the ACL here will receive $124,960 to enhance services and attract staff.
“It is good news, it’s very good news,” ACL executive director Alanna Barr noted late Monday morning.
“The union indicated they would not go back to the table until there’s funding. Well, there’s funding and they’re coming back to the table,” she added.
The two groups will begin talks at 2 p.m. but, noted CUPE Local #65 president Gwen Miller, picket lines will stay up until a settlement has been reached.
“I would say it’s good news,” said Miller. “We’re just hoping she [Barr] puts it into wages. It’s been designated for wages, benefits, and training so we’re hoping she puts it into wages.
“I don’t think anybody’s getting their hopes up. We’re just going to wait it out and see what happens,” she added.
Striking ACL workers are picketing for their 130th day today since they walked off the job May 11. Talks had broken off April 30 over wage increases and pensions.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services also announced $30,310 in funding to the Atikokan and District Association for Developmental Services and $7,830 in funding to Family and Children’s Services here.
“These agencies provide a tremendous service to people with developmental disabilities in this community,” Baird said in a press release.
“This funding will help ensure that they can continue to provide quality care and better serve the growing needs of their clients,” he stressed.