May 27, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 02  

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YMCA set to run Western Day Care

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Aaron Lynett/Gazette
"I TOLD YOU - NO BIKER GANGS ALLOWED." Western Day Care staff member Lori Corrigan holds future Western student Samuel as he admires the old-time bicycles of his friends.

Last week the 33 employees at Western Day Care were given termination notices after the university decided it would no longer be the operator of the new day care building currently under construction on Western Road.

The decision comes after the YMCA was chosen as the operator of the new $2.7-million day care facility beside Perth Hall, confirmed Susan Grindrod, associate VP-student housing and ancillary services.

According to Western Day Care executive director Jill Arthur, the current staff waited for new contracts until April, when Western administration sat down with them for negotiations. During this meeting, administration officials said the day care did not meet certain conditions, Arthur added.

“They basically said ‘sorry about your luck,’” she explained. “They said they made a deal with the Y and it didn’t include us.”

Grindrod admitted there was a provision stating Western Day Care staff would be employed by any new operator chosen to administer the new day care building, but the offer was rescinded because the costs for the staff’s wages could not be maintained.

“It’s an important decision — we wanted the best organization and the best package,” Grindrod said. “The evaluation team was very taken by the Y.”

Shaun Elliott, executive director for the London YMCA, stated the Western Day Care workers receive 30 per cent more in wages than YMCA child care employees, which provided the Western administration an incentive for choosing the YMCA over Western Day Care.

“Unfortunately we were unable to give [current employees of] Western Day Care any positions,” he said, citing the comparably high wages could not be offered by the YMCA.

“We wanted an operator to run the day care and replenish capital,” Grindrod said, noting the YMCA demonstrated an ability to keep the building up to speed as per the university’s requirements

Grindrod pointed out the selection process was based on three criteria: programming, financing and staffing. “The Y was successful on all fronts,” she added.
“In the fall [2003] we were selected by the evaluation committee, and as I was told they chose us unanimously,” Elliott explained.

Arthur said the construction of the new day care facility came in light of an agreement between administration and the faculty association to add 50 new day care spots.

Elliott explained that while the 150 current spots are available for faculty, staff and students at Western, priority will be given to faculty members for the additional 50 places. “The priority is given to us by the university,” he said, adding the program will begin on Sept. 7.

“We’re looking at space and the possibility of moving,” Arthur explained, adding Western Day Care’s lease for its current building lasts until the end of September.



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