EDMONTON – Nearly 180 employees of the Devonshire Care Centre long-term care facility will continue working today after the government of Alberta removed their legal right to strike yesterday by appointing a Dispute Inquiry Board.
“We left the decision of whether to continue with the strike plan in the hands of Devonshire’s workers, and early this morning they elected to obey the process imposed on them by the government,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith.
“The members are angry that the government stepped in at the last minute to save Devonshire’s owner, Park Place Seniors Living, from what would have been a legal strike. Frankly, I’m not happy either,” said Smith. “Nonetheless, the members remain united and will take whatever steps they can to secure an agreement.”
Human Services Minister David Hancock appointed the Dispute Inquiry Board because Park Place Seniors chose not to make a contingency plan for the strike, putting resident’s care at risk.
“The Dispute Inquiry Board shows Park Place is using the seniors in their care and the government as pawns in a labour dispute of their own making. Park Place intentionally put seniors’ health at risk by failing to make a contingency plan for a strike which they were given ample notice for,” said Smith.
“If the Minister is concerned about the residents’ safety he should have appointed a Public Emergency Tribunal, which would have settled the dispute with a binding decision. Park Place rejected the Dispute Inquiry Board’s recommendations at Hardisty and I have no doubt they will do the same at Devonshire,” he added.
The Dispute Inquiry Board recommended that staff at Hardisty Care Centre be paid industry-standard wages.
At the direction of its members at Devonshire, AUPE will be asking the appointed, one-person board for an expedited hearing and decision, rather than the 30 days permitted by Minister Hancock.
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith, President, AUPE – 780-930-3301 or 780-265-2294 (cell)
Mark Wells, Senior Communications Advisor, AUPE – 780-930-3311 or 780-904-0688 (cell)