May 27, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 02  

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EDITORIAL

Broken promise reality for 33

Young man, there’s no need to feel down. Unless, that is, you’re a current employee of the Western Day Care centre.

The initial guarantee of continued employment for current day care employees has crumbled as Western’s administration has gone back on its promise of job security for current employees. Instead, when the YMCA takes over this September, the 33 current employees will be out of a job.

The assurance of continued employment given by Western administration to the Western Day Care employees never gelled into a legally-binding agreement. Nevertheless, it is disconcerting to think that administration would assuage the concerns of two groups — the parents of children enrolled at the day care and its employees — by claiming it would be able to do something it has not been able to.

The initial impetus for building the new $2.7-million facility that the YMCA will operate from was part of the negotiations that took place between administration and Western’s faculty association this past year. As part of the new agreement, faculty members were promised 50 new spots in the centre primarily reserved for their children, bringing the total number of children cared for by the centre to 200.

Because of the service’s expansion — the current day-care centre accomodates 150 children — the construction of a new building was required. However, were it not for the new agreement between administration and faculty, one has to wonder if the day care would have been expanded at all and whether current employees would have been able to keep their jobs at their current wage. The answer to the latter question seems to be in the affirmative.

Meanwhile, some parents are concerned with a potential decline in the quality of service under the new YMCA contract. Regardless of the restructuring and changeover, many parents were previously unconcerned because staff members at the day care would have been the same. Some of those parents are now concerned about the disruption of the service’s continuity.

The committee responsible for selecting the YMCA to take over operation of the day-care centre did so based on three broad criteria: programming, staffing and financing. As such, it’s likely that the quality of service will still be sufficient — Western faculty members would most likely not want to support a larger day care if it meant that quality would drop off dramatically. Under the new contract, though, the YMCA employees will be paid approximately 30 per cent less than current workers.

Though the deal may make economic sense for Western, it is nevertheless regrettable that administration had to break its word to 33 of its own employees. While it’s likely that it was never administration’s intent to mislead its employees, at the end of each day from now until September, a broken promise is still the reality for the day care’s workers.

 

 

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