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This update includes information about bargaining at Points West Living facilities in Cold Lake, Vegreville, Stettler and Slave Lake.

COLD LAKE

Contract priorities for Cold Lake members that remain outstanding:
• application of seniority for the distribution of additional hours of work or casual shifts
• application of seniority when master rotations or shift schedules change
• professional development and in-services language to ensure fully educated employees
• up-to-date skills and competencies
• language to address working short-staffed
• language to address organizational change.

These priorities address the three main worksite concerns over short-staffing, scheduling and training.

Short-staffing
Short staffing and understaffing occur when the Employer fails to fill casual shifts, doesn’t replace short-term (sick leave) or long-term (vacations) absent employees, doesn’t advertise or fill vacancies, or reduces staffing, changes work rotations and shuffles workers on a unit, or from unit to unit.

Seniority recognizes workers’ length of service, it’s a good indicator of who is the most experienced worker, the most familiar face, or the worker who has provided the most consistent care in the residence, probably for each and every resident.

Scheduling
Our priorities include the application of seniority in the case of changes to shift schedules or master rotations. A fair process for scheduling, and adequate notification, will help reduce the stress of changes for members and residents.

Training
About one third of health care aides are “caregivers” who are usually uncertified HCAs, hired without certification and who generally do not complete certifications or maintain competencies within the regulated time frames. Educational development, training and in-service programs are usually not a priority for most employers in supportive living because it costs money.

The lack of development, training and in-services ends in greater workload for certified health care aides or even long-service caregiver staff. It results in delays in care, prolonged shifts, duties being incomplete, duties being transferred or delegated to the next shift, and a build up of work into the next day or even next week.

Labour Relations Board Supervised Employer Proposal Vote
The employer-tabled, revised proposal of Feb. 13 was included in the employer application, section 69 Board supervised proposal vote, scheduled for March 15.

Members overwhelmingly rejected the section 69 proposal vote on the Feb. 13 revised offer, which was worse than DIB recommendations.

The proposal included no retroactivity, a $250 pro-rated signing bonus, an effective date for the collective agreement from date of ratification for a three-year term to expire in 2020, and other monetary items like shiftand weekend improvements moved to 2018 and 2019.

Unfortunately, the employer continues to go backwards. On March 21, PWL wrote a letter to AUPE stating the Feb. 13 revised proposal for a $250 pro-rated lump sum payment (which the employer admitted was intended to induce members to favourably consider the offer) was withdrawn in light of the rejection of that offer on March 15.

The employer stated it is “not prepared to bear the AUPE demands for changes to the Employer’s last offer…it is unacceptable to the Employer to resolve the dispute because the employees will need more than what has been tabled so far.”

“As a result the Employer will be placing a request for proposals to study, compare and contrast the costs and benefits of an alternative delivery model in Cold Lake to provide services with what is currently in place and what might likely be in place in the foreseeable future.”

Finally the employer stated, “we are at clear impasse and further bargaining in Cold Lake appears to be a useless formality.”

HERITAGE HOUSE LTD.
On March 20 Points West Living tabled a revised offer to conclude bargaining for Points West Living Heritage House Inc.

AUPE has consistently advised the employer at collective bargaining and mediation that its “final offer” contains illegal proposals and it is illegally under-bargaining the Employment Standards Code. The employer has again tabled the illegal proposals to impasse, except this time with a threat.

AUPE conducted a meeting with members on Sept. 9, 2016 and confirmed the employer’s “final offer” would not ratify because of the illegal proposal. In other words, members expect the employer to agree to “extended workday” (12-hour shifts) language in the collective agreement.

Since September 2016, there have been several attempts to bring bargaining to a reasonable conclusion, including attempts to return to mediation. The parties explored dates in January, February, March and April 2017, and agreed to mediation, scheduled for May 3 and 4.

Details of Heritage House’s illegal proposals
• Regular hours of work shall be 7.5 hours per day
• The long standing practice of scheduling 12-hour shifts for LPNs shall be continued as will the practice of scheduling HCAs for 8-hour shifts
• Letter of Understanding – It is agreed the positions of LPN and HCA (nights) will continue to work their extended hours as per the current practice, which will be committed to writing upon signing of this agreement
• Shifts of shorter or longer duration may be scheduled depending on the needs of the facility
• Not less than 14 hours off between shifts

Part 2, Division 3 of the Employment Standards Code makes provisions for employees’ hours of work, and Section 16(1) addresses hours of work confined within a period of 12 consecutive hours.

Under the Employment Standards Code “hours of work” is the period of time during which an employee works for anemployer. It includes time off with pay instead of overtime pay provided by an employer and taken by an employee. An employee may work a maximum of 12 hours in a day unless an unforeseeable or unpreventable emergency occurs, or the Director of Employment Standards issues a permit authorizing extended hours of work beyond 12 hours.

The employer’s revised offer, including the final offer of Aug. 30 2016, maintains the long standing practice of scheduling 12-hour shifts for LPNs, proposing a Letter of Understanding, which reads “It is agreed that the positions of LPN and HCA (nights) will continue to work their extended hours as per the current practice which will be committed to writing upon signing of this agreement and proposing shifts of shorter or longer duration may be scheduled depending on the needs of the facility.” Such language violates the Employment Standards Code.

Secondly, the employer’s revised offer of March 20, is in violation of the Labour Relations Code, and constitutes bargaining in bad faith. The letter containing the revised offer violates section 148(1)(a)(ii) of the Labour Relations Code.

The letter and deadline pre-empted the scheduled mediation dates of May 3 and 4. The pre-emptive actions of the employer undermine collective bargaining and mediation by preventing AUPE from meeting with the employer to understand the revised offer, ask questions of the employer and table a counter proposal to address the illegal proposal of the employer.

We requested the employer retroactively compensate each LPN for all hours worked in excess of the 7.75 work day for each day from the commencement of the illegal hours of work term and condition and continuing on forward until the matter is settled.

We requested the employer withdraw the illegal proposals and reply to the most recent AUPE proposal dated August 31.

STETTLER LTD.
The parties agreed to continue collective bargaining on June 7 and 8 and August 16 and 17.

SLAVE LAKE LTD.
The parties agreed to continue collective bargaining on June 14 and 15 and August 23 and 24.

CENTURY PARK LTD.
On May 21, 2015 at the initial Century Park bargaining meeting, the employer made the following comments:
• “The Century Park collective agreement is too expensive.”
• “Century Park and Heritage House collective agreements are considered outliers in the industry. Heritage House less so than Century Park.”
• “The Employer approached collective bargaining at Century Park with the objective to make the collective agreement more flexible.”
• “The Employer also approached collective bargaining with the objective to make the collective agreements simpler and shorter.”

Almost two years ago, the employer notified AUPE that Points West Living/Connecting Care was “actively considering” the sale of the Century Park operation and quite possibly Heritage House.

At mediation on June 16, 2016, the employer changed its mind and submitted a letter to the bargaining committee, which stated “Over a year has passed and there has been no progress with respect to the sale of the business.” The employer suddenly wanted a more concerted effort to reach a more satisfactory collective agreement with AUPE at Century Park by proposing to reduce the Century Park collective agreement from over 100 pages to a 30-page collective agreement with no increase in compensation, including wages, over the term of the collective agreement.

On Dec. 3 2016, the employer emailed the following to AUPE:
“As indicated in my letter of October 18, 2016 concerning the sale of PWL – Century Park Inc. I undertook to keep you apprised of developments. Accordingly, I am advising you that while the sale was originally anticipated to close by mid-December, the process has been progressing somewhat more slowly. Consequently it is now anticipated that the sale will close somewhat later than that date although hopefully prior to the end of January 2017. At this time I am not in a position to provide the identity of the purchaser but as indicated will do so as soon as the parties to the transaction agree to the release of that information.”

The employer’s comments are specious and their shifting rhetoric has attempted to conceal an alleged sale that has prolonged from May 2015 to today, some 22 months. Their rhetoric ranges from “agreement to purchase” to “prospective sale” to “agreement to sell.”

Will these slippery semantics continue forever? Based upon the lack of details disclosed, this matter may never come to a conclusion.

The employer expects a reasonable person to accept that the “vagaries of commercial dealings” supersede the labour relations rights of members at Century Park.

In March 2017, the employer, for the first time, disclosed some potential reasons for information on the “sale” like “building inspection,” and “regulatory process,” and “funding issues,” etc.

As of April 2017, the matter remains outstanding. Why?

THE MEMBERS OF YOUR BARGAINING COMMITTEES ARE:

STETTLER INC.
Denise Johnston 403-742-3877 or zoocrew4@telus.net
Suzanne Crouch 587-282-3085 or suzyqcr@telus.net
Ray Cerniuk 403-742-3759 or racer99@telus.net
ALTERNATES
Shandel Harkness 403-916-4615 or shan5773@yahoo.ca
Tracy Matchett 403-741-9263 or tracymatchett@hotmail.com

HERITAGE HOUSE
Joyce Mudyambanje 780-982-8002 or joymudya@yahoo.com
Olga Charuk 780-632-3784 or rcharuk@shaw.ca
Jennifer Medina jnaluz1@gmail.com

COLD LAKE INC.
Lianne Dumais 780-207-4212 or ldumais@telus.net
Amanda Whillans 780-639-4774 or whillansa@yahoo.ca
Alison Anstruther 780- 201-4114 or ally_anst_88@hotmail.com

CENTURY PARK
Rod Kusiek rodneykusiek@live.com
Suzanne Malo suzanne.malo@yahoo.com
Maureen Simms maureensimms@gmail.com

SLAVE LAKE
Kaurie Parkinson kauriermt@hotmail.com
Shauna Wilkinson swilkinson@hotmail.ca
Karissa Skynyk skrynykk@gmail.com
ALTERNATES
Dani Skrynyk canadian.1123@hotmail.com

AUPE RESOURCE STAFF

ORGANIZING/ BARGAINING SUPPORT
Jaime Urbina 403-506-8893 or j.urbina@aupe.org

NEGOTIATOR
John Wevers 780-238-4767 or j.wevers@aupe.org

MEMBERSHIP SERVICES OFFICERS
Guy Quenneville 780-237-8253 or g.quenneville@aupe.org
Angela Regnier 403-702-0514 or a.regnier@aupe.org