Unique national union program ...
Unique national union program targets working families with children with disabilities
(First published January 16, 2003)
WINNIPEG- An internationally acclaimed work and family project that meets the needs of children with disabilities and helps ease the financial, physical and emotional stresses on their parents is the subject of a new book being launched Wednesday, January 22.
While other work-family initiatives provide child care supports, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ project is the only program in North America that addresses the challenges of workers who have children with special needs, live in communities across Canada and work non-traditional shifts.
Moving Mountains: Work, Family and Children with Special Needs, describes the positive difference the CUPW Special Needs Project has made for these families. It also shows that helping parents balance work and family benefits their employer too.
Evaluations demonstrate that the program has a real impact: 93% of parents say it has lowered their overall family stress and 81% say it’s improved their morale and effectiveness at work. Says Tina Klinoski, a mail sorter and lone mother: “The project has helped me, just knowing I can go to work and my daughter is okay.”
The program provides financial assistance to parents for extra costs directly related to a child’s disability. Families also receive a regular newsletter, personal support by phone and education and resource materials. The money comes from the union’s Child Care Fund, negotiated with Canada Post in the 1990s. Canada Post puts money into the fund quarterly and the union develops and co-ordinates the fund’s projects.
“We produced Moving Mountains because we wanted to raise the profile of disability issues and the challenges of being a worker and a parent,” said Denis Lemelin, CUPW 2nd National Vice-President. “We hope the project described in the book will spark action by governments, employers and other unions to provide concrete support to families with children with disabilities.”