EDMONTON – More than 50 nursing staff at the private, for-profit Touchmark at Wedgewood seniors’ facility have ratified a collective agreement that will see their wages and benefits line up with the industry standard.
“This employer understands the importance of paying competitive wages and benefits,” said Guy Smith, President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the workers. “More and more private continuing care operators are acknowledging that it’s the best way to attract and retain staff, ensuring good quality of care for their residents.”
The three-year deal, which runs until June 30, 2015, will see licensed practical nurses and health-care aides receive a three-per-cent raise in their hourly rate in each year of the agreement. They will also receive two cash lump-sum payments. The wages match what Alberta Health Services pays its staff doing the same job.
The settlement also includes significant improvements to the retirement plan, support for professional development and improved sick days, among other things. More part-time staff will also qualify for benefits.
“There’s no reason all private operators in Alberta can’t do the same,” said Smith. “They all receive taxpayer funding to pay nursing staff at AHS rates, but some choose to pay less and pocket the rest. Kudos to Touchmark for doing the right thing and paying their nursing staff fairly.”
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith, AUPE President: (780) 265-2294
Andrew Hanon, AUPE Communications: (780) 930-5218