EDMONTON – Close to 180 Licensed Practical Nurses, Health Care Aides, dietary, housekeeping, laundry and other specialized staff at Devonshire Care Centre will take a strike vote at the south Edmonton worksite, June 26 and 27.
Private-for-profit care operator, Park Place Seniors Living Inc., a Vancouver-based company, runs the seniors’ facility.
“Park Place refuses to pay staff the industry standard wages they are funded with Albertans’ tax dollars to pay,” said AUPE President Guy Smith. “Park Place is pocketing dollars meant for front line staff, which harms the quality of care residents deserve.”
Minister of Health and Wellness, Fred Horne, has stated publicly that all continuing care facilities in Alberta, whether public, not-for-profit or private-for-profit, have equal funding from the province.
“Park Place pays staff 30 per cent less than the provincial standard set by Alberta Health Services in order to boost their profits,” Smith said. “That’s public money meant for seniors care, going into the pockets of a private owner. It’s wrong.”
The employer also refuses to offer Devonshire staff the health and wellness benefits they offer Park Place staff at their other continuing care worksites around the province.
“Devonshire staff spend multiple hours taking care of Alberta’s elderly every day. Without the health benefits they need, they aren’t even able take care of their own families,” said Smith.
“As Albertans get older, there will be a continued shortage of much-needed seniors’ care staff in the province. Park Place should be providing wages and benefits that attract and retain a stable, skilled and experienced nursing staff to give quality care to seniors. It’s the responsible thing to do,” said Smith.
“By refusing to offer industry standard pay, Park Place will drive nursing staff to an employer that does, leaving Devonshire more short staffed than they already are, further harming the quality of care,” Smith said.
Park Place Seniors Living also owns Hardisty Care Centre, where 80 nursing employees, who are facing similar issues as Devonshire staff are facing, have been on strike for a first collective agreement since May 22.
Bargaining with Park Place Seniors Living Inc. began, December 2011.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is close to 80,000 working Albertans. More than half work in public, private and not-for-profit health care in the province.
For more information:
Guy Smith, AUPE President: 780-265-2294 (cel.)
Tyler Bedford, AUPE Communications: 780-930-3406