EDMONTON – Nearly 500 Alberta Union of Provincial Employees members at five Shepherd’s Care Foundation continuing care facilities in Edmonton and northern Alberta voted overwhelmingly in favour of mediated collective agreements that will see their pay and benefits brought up to the industry standard.
“It was a long, arduous and prolonged process,” said AUPE staff negotiator John Wevers. “We began bargaining with Shepherd’s Care last summer, and in the end the mediator gave us a fair and reasonable agreement.”
The four-year collective agreement, retroactive to 2010, standardizes the widely disparate pay levels of employees at different work sites and will bring them up to the standards of the continuing care industry and the local labour market.
The workers, who are in seven bargaining units and five facilities, will receive on average a four per cent lump sum payment for the first year, a four per cent raise in the second and 4.5 per cent in the third. In the final year of the contract, they will receive a minimum 2.5 per cent increase or the same increase as Alberta Health Services’ continuing care employees — whichever is greater.
In particular, Shepherd’s Care Home Care Attendants, who work with clients who live in their own homes, will receive substantial raises over the next two years to bring their pay up to 90 per cent of AHS’s rate for Health Care Aides.
Throughout bargaining, Shepherd’s Care resisted standardizing wages by dragging out negotiations. Last spring, AUPE applied for mediation to break the impasse.
“This was a fight for fairness,” said AUPE President Guy Smith. “People doing the same job for the same employer were receiving different pay, and nearly everyone was being paid well below what others in the industry were paid.”
He commended the employees for standing strong and united.
“Their solidarity had a powerful impact on bargaining,” Smith said. “The gains they made in these collective agreements were a direct result of that show of strength.”
Smith added that AUPE is committed to ensuring its members are treated fairly and equitably by their employers.
“By securing decent wages, benefits and working conditions for staff, we’re also helping make certain that residents receive the quality of care they deserve,” he said.
The Shepherd’s Care Foundation continuing care facilities covered by this collective are:
- Millwoods Campus, 28 Avenue and 66 Street, Edmonton
- Southside Manor, 29 Avenue and 107 Street, Edmonton
- Greenfield, 38 Avenue and 114 Street, Edmonton
- Kensington Campus, 135 Avenue and 126 Street, Edmonton
- Barrhead, 59 Avenue and 52 Street, Barrhead
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith, AUPE President: (780) 265-2294 (cell phone)
John Wevers, AUPE staff negotiator: (780) 930-3300 or (780) 238-4767 (cell phone)
Andrew Hanon, AUPE communications officer: (780) 930-5218