Developmental services workers in Ontario are pressing their employers for better working conditions, according to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
The workers, who provide care for people with developmental disabilities, say the sector has unstable working conditions including low pay and few hours.
More than two-thirds of developmental services workers are part-time, temporary, or contract workers, and many earn less than $14 per hour, according to OPSEU.
"Employers can't recruit or retain skilled, professional workers because of the low pay and unstable hours they offer. They've addressed this in their own survey of employers across Ontario. They're even turning to high school volunteers, who are hardly equipped to care for and support people with autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and other disabilities," said Patti Markland, chair of OPSEU developmental services.
OPSEU last week held information sessions, provincial talks and actions in cities across the province. The union represents approximately 12,000 developmental services workers.
"No matter how much they love their jobs, they can't stay if they can't make ends meet," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Our union has been in the forefront of the push for stable earnings for the workers and stable services for the people they support and their families. High staff turnover is bad for workers, bad for the people they support, and ultimately bad for employers because constant recruitment and training are costly."
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