Minister Sullivan is speaking today at the first meeting of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, an office for which she is responsible.

Carol Furlong, President of NAPE, the union representing the striking workers stated, ” This is a prime opportunity for the Minister to acknowledge the vital role of those who provide support services to persons with disabilities. The clients, their families, and even the employer have all been vocal in their support of the striking workers. “This is about credibility,” said Furlong. “If the Minister believes in the fundamental principles of inclusion she will endorse these striking workers.

“The support these employees provide to persons with disabilities is integral to the success of their clients’ inclusion in the workforce, said Furlong. “They empower a group who otherwise might not participate in paid work and they contribute to their social well being. They provide a means for these individuals to be, and to feel, productive. Everyone wants to make a contribution, to feel a sense of worth and inclusiveness. The striking workers, who act as job coaches, help make that happen for a group who otherwise might not have an opportunity to be part of the labour market.

The striking workers are employees of the Burin-Marystown Community Training and Employment Board, and have been on strike since November, ironically seeking equality and respect. Government is seeking concessions from the group who make little more than minimum wage, while the striking workers have simply asked to keep the benefits they previously negotiated and to be treated equally with others who were at the collective bargaining table with government.

For further information contact:
Carol Furlong: 709-754-0700; 709-691-5701