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Edith Cavell strike called off today

Posted July 02, 2015 in Health Care

The scheduled strike at noon today by Alberta Union of Provincial Employees members at the Edith Cavell Care Centre has been called off for now after a last-minute tentative agreement was reached between the AUPE bargaining committee and the facility’s owner, Chantelle Management.

“This comes as a welcome relief to our members,” said Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, Vice-President of AUPE, which represents more than 120 auxiliary nursing and support staff at the seniors facility. “They care deeply for the residents, but had no choice but to serve strike notice.”

Collective bargaining began in October, 2014. When face-to-face negotiations failed a third-party mediator was called in to break the impasse. The mediator recommended a settlement but the employer rejected it, setting the stage for a strike vote.

“This has been an extremely challenging round of bargaining,” said AUPE staff negotiator Dale Perry. “It took a lot of hard work and determination to get this TA, and now it’s up to the general membership to vote on it.”

The terms of the tentative agreement will not be released, pending a ratification vote by the employees.

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For more information, contact:

Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, AUPE Vice-President: (403) 542-1823
Dale Perry, AUPE staff negotiator: (780) 238-8697
Andrew Hanon, AUPE communications: (780) 932-7644

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Happy Canada Day!

Posted July 01, 2015 in Union Updates

A very happy Canada Day from everyone here at AUPE! Special thanks to those AUPE members who are working to keep us safe and healthy on Canada’s birthday.

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AUPE will mount challenge to Harper Conservatives' Bill C-377

Posted June 30, 2015 in Union Updates

The Senate of Canada, dominated by a majority of Conservative appointees, has passed Bill C-377, despite the protests of provincial governments, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and unions across Canada.

C-377, which amends the Income Tax Act, will require unions to disclose every expenditure over $5,000, including details of the transaction, to Revenue Canada, which will in turn post the information to a public searchable database online.

AUPE has raised concerns about the constitutionality of the legislation and will mount a legal challenge to C-377.

“No other organization is subject to these kinds of rules. If we spend $5,000 on printer cartridges and paper, that has to be reported. If we host a barbecue for our members, the spending will have to be reported,” said AUPE Vice President Karen Weiers.

“It’s going to be a huge cost to the union – and union members – that will benefit no one but anti-union organizations and employers that want to use our financial information against our members at the bargaining table.”

AUPE has sent its written objections that the C-377 is unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional, to the Senate and before that the House of Commons Finance Committee and all Conservative Members of Parliament in Alberta. Several provinces, including Alberta, oppose Bill C-377 as an infringement on their constitutional jurisdiction over labour and employment matters.

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For more information:

Karen Weiers, AUPE Vice-President – (403) 561-2482
Andrew Hanon, AUPE communications officer – (780) 932-7644

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Lethbridge seniors care workers set to strike on Thursday

Posted June 30, 2015 in Health Care

121 seniors care workers at Lethbridge’s Edith Cavell Care Centre are set to walk off the job on Thursday at noon, citing concerns that their employer, Chantelle Management, is withholding public funding intended for direct care as profit.

“Chantelle is receiving public funding to provide seniors care and they have also increased the accommodation rates they are charging to residents, but they are skimming money from staff salaries as profit instead of ensuring quality care for residents,” said AUPE Vice-president Carrie-Lynn Rusznak.

AUPE represents auxiliary nursing and support staff at Edith Cavell. The union has been in bargaining for a new collective agreement with Chantelle Management, which operates the care centre, since October 2014.

Negotiations continued in January with the assistance of a mediator. The mediator recommended a three per-cent wage increase on a one-year contract, which AUPE accepted but Chantelle rejected.

“Chantelle is jeopardizing the quality of care for Edith Cavell residents by keeping staff compensation below industry standards,” said Rusznak. “Relationships are the key to quality care, but when employee turnover is high, caregivers can’t develop trusting relationships with the seniors they care for.”

AUPE members at Edith Cavell held a strike vote on May 28, but delayed serving strike notice in the hopes that a deal could be reached. However, Chantelle’s most recent offer was even lower than their position during mediation, according to the union.

“Workers never make the decision to go on strike lightly,” AUPE Negotiator Dale Perry. “We’ve tried to avoid getting to this point, but this is the only option left for these workers to achieve a fair settlement that protects the quality of care at Edith Cavell.”

AUPE served strike notice today, informing Chantelle that workers will walk off their jobs on Thursday at noon. Representatives of AUPE will be available for comment at that time. Edith Cavell Care centre is located at 1255 5 Avenue South in Lethbridge.

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For more information:
Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, AUPE Vice-president: (403) 542-1823
Dale Perry, AUPE Negotiator: (780) 238-8697
Merryn Edwards, AUPE Communications: (780) 952-1951

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