Workers at disability services nonprofit in Lawrence plan to strike, citing low wages
By J.D. Capelouto Globe Correspondent July 08, 2018
More than 100 workers who provide care for people with disabilities at a Lawrence nonprofit plan to strike this week, amid negotiations for higher salaries and lower staff turnover.
Care staff and case workers at CLASS Inc. are set to strike Monday morning and plan to rally outside of the building, according to a statement from the SEIU Local 509 union.
The strike follows contract bargaining sessions with the company that involved a federal mediator, the union said.
Advertisement The group totals about 115 people who care for people with disabilities through the agency’s programs, according to a union spokesman.
Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday’s news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Sign Up Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here Most of the staff members are paid less than $15 an hour, which leads to “high turnover and constant staffing issues that impact the quality of care available to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable,” the union said in a statement.
Forty percent of union staff members have worked there for less than two years, the SEIU said.
CLASS could not be reached for comment Sunday afternoon. A voice mail message on its main line said it will not be open for services on “at least” Monday or Tuesday, due to the strike.
“We voted to strike because the low pay at CLASS Inc. hurts us and the individuals we take care of every day,” said Krystina Castillo, who has worked at the organization for three years, in a statement.
Advertisement “Management needs to address our low wages so the people we care for can get the care they deserve.”
Union members said the company has spent a lot of money to hire temporary workers who are not properly trained or familiar with the people they serve.
Last week, several politicians and candidates, including Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera met with CLASS staff to discuss the issues, according to the statement.
The workers unionized in 2014; last year, they secured a one-year contract that included an average 5 percent wage increase, according to the SEIU.
“Despite these wins, workers at CLASS Inc. are still among the lowest paid at peer agencies across the Commonwealth,” the union statement said.
Advertisement Most of the striking staff members work directly with clients on a wide variety of programming to “increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, address issues of health and wellness, and promote social and recreational activities,” according to the agency’s website.
The strike begins at 8 a.m. Monday, and the rally is at noon at the CLASS building on Parker Street.
J.D. Capelouto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto . Loading comments…
Immigration minister criticizes Ontario Tories’ language on asylum seekers
Immigration minister criticizes Ontario Tories’ language on asylum seekers By Michael Tutton The Canadian Press Mon., July 9, 2018
HALIFAX—The federal minister of immigration objected Monday to the new Ontario Tory government’s references to people claiming refugee status as “illegal border crossers.”
Last week, a spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford used the term in a statement sent to the media, saying the recent influx of asylum seekers has resulted in a housing crisis in Toronto and “threats to services that Ontario families depend on.” Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, speaks during a press conference in Halifax on Monday. Hussen, himself an immigrant from Somalia, says Canada has a legal obligation under national and international law to give a fair hearing to refugee claimants. ( Michael Tutton / THE CANADIAN PRESS )
On Monday, an emailed statement sent to The Canadian Press from Ford’s office repeated the “illegal border crossers” terminology.
Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told a news conference Monday he believes Ford’s vocabulary is inaccurate.
“I’m very concerned by Premier Ford and (provincial) minister (Lisa) MacLeod really making statements that are difficult to understand when it comes to how they’re describing asylum seekers,” Hussen told reporters in Halifax. Article Continued Below
“These are people who we have a legal obligation to give a fair hearing to, and so we’re applying Canadian law, we’re applying international law and that requires all levels of government to work together.”
The act of crossing the border at a point other than an official port of entry is illegal. However, according to the federal Customs Act, those seeking asylum in Canada have that right to do so under the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention.
Hussen addressed the issue of language as he took questions from reporters about Ontario’s call for additional financial help from Ottawa to deal with asylum seekers in Toronto.
Between the beginning of January and the end of May 2018, the Canada Border Services Agency and Immigration and Refugees and Citizenship Canada have processed more than 20,000 asylum claimants, according to federal data.
There were 3,304 refugee claimants in the Toronto shelter system as of late June, accounting for close to half of its users.
Fifty-four bedroom dormitories at Centennial College in Toronto are being used as temporary homes for 344 asylum seekers, and hundreds more are being housed at another student residence.
The asylum seekers are expected to be out of the residences by Aug. 9, as the colleges prepare for the return of the student population. Article Continued Below
Simon Jefferies, a spokesman for Ford’s office, sent an email Monday saying, “this mess was created by the federal government, and the federal government should foot 100 per cent of the bills.”
Hussen said he was “perplexed” by the request for more money at a time when the province isn’t co-operating with efforts to redirect people to temporary shelters outside of large centres.
He noted that Ottawa has allocated $50 million, $11 million of which is earmarked for Ontario, to assist with temporary housing for the asylum seekers.
“What we’re saying is to relieve the pressure from Toronto and Montreal, we need the provinces to be on board to put together a triage plan that takes asylum seekers away from those major cities,” he said.
Hussen used the phrase “irregular border crossing between ports of entry” to describe the asylum seekers.
“When someone crosses our border, it’s an illegal act. But once they’re on Canadian soil and they claim asylum, the charge of crossing irregularly is stayed pending the determination of their asylum claim,” he said.
Still, Jefferies said the federal government is the one distorting the English language.
“It is disturbing that the federal government is deliberately confusing legitimate refugees with illegal border crossers. Frankly, they know better,” he wrote.
Several Ontario service providers who assist refugee claimants also objected to Ford’s language, saying they’re fearful about the impact it may have on Ontarians’ opinions towards immigrants.
“We know from experience that whenever any population is demonized or belittled, it affects public opinion,” said Debbie Douglas, executive director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
Debbie Hill-Corrigan, executive director of Sojourn House in Toronto, said the notion that all refugees are illegal and use up public services, “pits (Canadians) against refugees.”
She said the shelter takes in refugees, mostly youth, from Syria, Saudi Arabia and multiple African countries who are part of the LGBTQ community and fear for their safety.
Hill-Corrigan said she’s concerned the shelter might lose funding from the province’s Newcomer Settlement program in light of Ford’s comments, as well as Toronto Mayor John Tory’s statement that the city would have to close community centres and cancel public programs because of the refugees.
“We hope that Ontarians will continue to be pro-immigration and continue to extend an helping hand in terms of our humanitarian obligations,” said Douglas.
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer weighed in with his own statement Monday, blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s #WelcomeToCanada tweet in January 2017 for encouraging border crossings. Read more about: TOP STORIES, DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX. NEW NEWSLETTER HEADLINES More from The Star & Partners LOADING
MOU to sack APC: Secondus, Ekweremadu speak
MOU to sack APC: Secondus, Ekweremadu speak On 9:04 pm In News , Politics by adekunle Comments
By Dirisu Yakubu ABUJA- Speaking at the event, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus likened the day the parties signed the MOU to the day the military first transfer power to an elected democratic government. Uche Secondus “Today is like that day on October 1, 1979 when the military handed over power to a civilian adminstration.
“On a day like this, we cannot forget the struggle that led to the elimination of Abacha regime on June 8, 1998, the struggle and sacrifice that culminated in the May, 29th 1999 final return to democracy in our land.
“Another landmark day in our polity that we must remember on a day like this is the first ever successful transfer of power from civilian to civilian administration that happened with the PDP surrendering power to APC on May 29th 2015.
“I have taken us this memory lane for us to properly appreciate the import of what we are gathered here to do today to help rescue our nation that is presently going through hardship with endless killings and blood flow in a country that is not at war with any nation.
“We have all witnessed all forms of intimidation aimed at suffocating democracy in our land, frame ups, arrests and total break down of law and order in some areas like Zamfara state where a Governor had to relinquish his chief Security officer status,” he said
He also picked holes in the Executive Order No. 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari to boost its war against corruption, saying“We know why they are doing this on the eve of a general election because they know the people have turned their back on them but they want to retain power at all cost including cowing us down, adding that the opposition would remain resolute nonetheless.
“We cannot be cowed. If our heroes past had been cowed down in these historic events I just highlighted above, we would not have democracy or a nation today.
“We must stand up for the rule of law to prevail or posterity would judge us harshly.”
On his part, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said the coming together of various opposition political parties to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would rescue Nigeria in 2019 and restore her on the path of democratic freedoms, joy, security, and development.
The lawmaker stated that the mammoth crowd outside the venue which had gathered to witness the birth of a new Nigeria, showed that Nigerians have seen hope again and urged the grand alliance not be disappoint the people.
He said: “For three years, what I see on the faces of Nigerians is frustration and anguish. But for the first time, I tell you that I saw joy. I saw people laughing and smiling for the first time in three years.
“Those our brothers and sisters, and investors, who left Nigeria in the last three years are also rejoicing with you because by this time next year, they will all be back.
“Those factories that were closed are going to come back alive by this time next year and Nigerians will rejoice.
“The people of the South East whom the programmes and practices of this government forced to have a rethink on their membership of this country, today will rejoice and be happy that a new country that will be fair to all is coming; a country that they will be proud to be part of and continue to contribute to her development.
“All our people in Internally Displaced Persons camps, who have been wondering or believe that they will spend the rest of their lives in the IDP camps are happy today because their stay there is almost over; because next year, we will enthrone a government that will take them to their homes and protect them there.
“The media houses, all the instruments and institutions of democracy that have been trampled and muzzled in this country, will be free again to do their work without fear of intimidation.
“Those, who are being persecuted on account of their political views or insisting that the right thing should be done, are also going to rejoice because a new dawn is here. One of them is my brother, Senator Dino Melaye, who went through hell, but today, he is a free man.
“Also, remember that Nelson Mandela said that unless Nigeria earns the respect of the world, no one would respect Africa. So, various countries of Africa, who have looked up to Nigeria to provide leadership will have a good dinner in their houses today, happy that we are coming back again to retake our place again as the foremost country in Africa and to provide leadership.” Related
Coroner: YouTube shooter shot herself through the heart
Authorities say Nasim Aghdam, the woman who wounded three people after opening fire at YouTube headquarters, died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the heart. (AP)
Northern California authorities say a woman who shot and wounded three people at YouTube headquarters died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the heart at the scene of the shooting.
The Mercury News of San Jose reports Monday that the pathology report from the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office showed no evidence of alcohol or drugs in her system.
Authorities say Nasim Aghdam stormed into YouTube’s campus south of San Francisco on April 3 and shot into a crowd of employees eating lunch.
Family members said the prolific video maker was upset with YouTube and complained the company’s business policies were costing her income and views.
Aghdam made videos in which she exercised, promoted animal rights and explained the vegan diet, often with elaborate costumes or a rabbit. Trending in U.S.
Watch Drake’s Surprise Headlining Set at Wireless Festival 2018
Attendees of London’s Wireless Festival were treated to a huge surprise last night. Scheduled headliner DJ Khaled was forced to cancel his appearance due to “travel issues,” but he was replaced by none other than Drake. Drizzy delivered a full set heavy on cuts from his smash new album Scorpion . Check out footage of his set below.
SURPRISE! 💥💥 @Drake pic.twitter.com/7SfzRlxt29
— Wireless Festival (@WirelessFest) July 8, 2018
Drake performs “Nonstop” for the 1st time at Wireless. pic.twitter.com/OJt136LFLZ
— Word On Road (@WordOnRd) July 8, 2018
The crowd was hype for Drake. #Wireless pic.twitter.com/xSm465u5uy
— Word On Road (@WordOnRd) July 8, 2018
. @Drake performing ‘8 Out Of 10’ live for the first time in London 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Sjc1oskQs9
— Capital XTRA (@CapitalXTRA) July 8, 2018
A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Jul 8, 2018 at 5:01pm PDT
It’s yet another victory lap for what has been an enormous success for Drake. Scorpion has smashed all streaming records, including hitting a billion streams in a single week. As of this writing, it is the number one album in the country, making it Drake’s eighth consecutive full-length to nab the top spot on the charts.
If you haven’t already, check out our review and song ranking of Scorpion . Revisit the visual for “Nice for What” below.
In other music news, Murda Beatz has dropped a new track all about his love for “Fortnite.” Give it a listen right here .