Re: Conference Call – December 16, 2014.
CUPE Ontario and the Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee will be holding a PHONE Town Hall meeting to address the concerns of Ontario Works members regarding the implementation of SAMS (Social Assistance Management System). OPSEU and ODSP employees are also being invited on the call.
This call is open to all staff reps and Ontario Works CUPE members and executives.
Tuesday, December 16th at 7:00 pm
Call in Number: 1-877-519-6647
Inbound Listener: 688836
CUPE LOCAL 5167 will be having a unit meeting for ONTARIO WORKS 5167 MEMBERS!
WHERE: Union Hall, 818 King Street East on
WHEN: Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Take a stand against union-busting by changing your Facebook profile picture to promote the USW beer can boycott this holiday season.
Crown Holdings, the U.S.-based aluminum can giant, has forced its 120 Toronto workers out on strike since September 2013 by demanding massive concessions. Since then, Crown has refused to negotiate a fair settlement, closed its Montréal plant and bused in scabs to break the union in Toronto.
But you can help!
1) Save this campaign image to your device, and then upload it as your profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word.
2) Join the day of action on Dec. 13 with a mass leafleting at local beer stores. https://www.facebook.com/events/685951374858106/?pnref=story
3) Post a comment below to share how your union local or your family is supporting the boycott.
Learn more at www.BottlesNotCans.ca
Please know that we are aware of the ever increasing frustrations you’re experiencing at work; with no hint of an end in sight. We’ve spoken to many of you and have heard your stories and concerns. We understand and fully support your concerns. Please know we are not idle on this matter.
• We have spoken against SAMS to the media, and will continue to do so,
• We have initiated or participated in conversations with many other CUPE locals, OPSEU reps as well as the CUPE Social Services Committee. Every other municipality we speak with expresses the same stories and frustrations we hear from you,
• We have spoken to local Management about your concerns and have heard their concern for you as well as the OW clients,
• We have asked the CUPE Social Service Committee to set up a conference call to connect all the locals who have OW members. We have asked the committee to do this so we can coordinate our efforts and communications.
If there is more that you think we can do, please speak to us about your ideas. We will set up an OW unit meeting shortly to give you the opportunity to provide your input. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with in a coordinated approach both locally and provincially. We don’t want to risk jeopardizing the messaging about SAMS and we don’t want to see our members under any additional pressure.
Please feel free to get in touch anytime,
Sandra Walker, Tracey St Aubin, Jodi Coville, Ann Jenkins and Julia Horton.
Retro Payments from Interest Arbitration
Salaried Employees: wage adjustments were made on November 21 and retro payments will be calculated and paid on December 19
Hourly Paid Employees: will be made on November 28 and retro payments will be calculated and paid on December 24
CUPE News Release November 26, 2014
Social assistance in chaos as new computer system delivers misery for vulnerable Ontarians: survey
TORONTO, Ont. – Vulnerable people on social assistance are the victims of the chaotic introduction of a new case management system for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program, according to a flood of responses to a survey by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Hundreds of caseworkers have responded anonymously to a survey set up by the union. Frontline workers are raising the alarm about the new computer system and the havoc it has created in workplaces across the province. Workers also fear for the thousands of families and individuals in Ontario who rely on social assistance and face the prospect of a month-end with no payment.
CUPE members recount heartbreaking stories of lives thrown into turmoil by absent, late or incorrect payments, system errors, and the inability to update case plans. At the same time, stress in the workplace is reaching unbearable levels, as workers struggle to navigate a system plagued by system errors and conversion problems.
The Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) is a new case management system launched at Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program earlier this month. Despite many months of delay and province-wide testing, SAMS has been a source of stress and worry to both clients and the workers whose job it is to provide financial assistance to vulnerable Ontarians.
Survey respondents say the new system’s cumbersome and inefficient processes are also creating significant delays, leaving workers unable to provide timely or personal service to clients. Workers also cite dramatic increases in the time spent on data entry and concerns over potential privacy breaches.
“The government’s own figures confirm that more than $220 million has been spent on this lemon of a system,” said Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair of CUPE’s Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee (SSWCC). “At the same time, the Wynne Liberal government is cutting social programs for our province’s most vulnerable citizens. It’s yet another indication of something radically wrong with this government’s priorities.”
John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty spoke in support of both workers and recipients of social assistance:
“The initial implementation of SAMS poses an immediate threat: that people on social assistance will face widespread delays in receiving their meager income. This brings with it the threat of hunger and loss of housing.
“Beyond this, however, the new system moves us away from flexibility and discretion and renders the delivery of income support more ponderous and inflexible and less ready to adapt to the particular needs and situations of those living in poverty.”
CUPE’s survey of its members’ experience of SAMS closed November 26, two weeks after SAMS’ launch on November 10.
“Given our members’ experience, we believe the chaos that they and clients have lived is more than a new system’s “teething pains,” said Poole-Cotnam.
“When we have our final survey results, we will take them forward to the Ministry in the full expectation that immediate action will be taken to alleviate the current situation and hold to account those responsible for the current shambles.”
For more information, contact:
Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair, CUPE Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee: 613-864-1061
Andrew Hunter, CUPE Social Services Coordinator: 519-496-5314
Mary Unan, CUPE Communications: 905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 647-390-9839 (cell)