As the lockout at Monterey Place seniors’ facility drags into its fourth month, other private, for-profit operators around Alberta are acknowledging the need to pay industry standard wages and benefits.
“In recent months we’ve had several contract settlements where wages and benefits will be brought up to standard over the course of the collective agreements,” said Guy Smith, President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the 90 Monterey Place workers. “These employers recognize that it’s the best way to ensure they can attract and retain staff. In turn, that’s key to ensuring quality of care for Alberta’s seniors.”
Monterey Place staff marked the 100th day of the lockout last Thursday. The northeast Calgary facility’s owner, Triple A Living Communities, is trying to force the workers to accept a contract that will keep their wages well below the industry standard.
“There’s no excuse for it,” said Smith. “Triple A receives taxpayer funding to pay nursing staff at wages on par with Alberta Health Services employees. Instead, it pays lower wages and pockets the difference.”
In July a new AUPE chapter at Extendicare Eaux Claires in Edmonton ratified a one-year deal that brings LPNs up to AHS rates and brings HCA rates close, setting the path for future bargaining.
Also in July, 80 nursing staff at the Hardisty Care Centre in Edmonton, owned by B.C.-based Park Place Seniors Living, ratified a three-year, first agreement that will see their rates of pay brought into line with AHS rates. The deal came after a two-month strike.
The same month, members at another Park Place facility in Edmonton, Devonshire Care Centre, reached a similar agreement just hours before going on strike. This contract affects 180 nursing and other specialized staff.
Two more privately run facilities have reached tentative agreements with AUPE which, if approved by both sides, will also see pay reach AHS rates. Ratification votes will be held in the coming weeks.
“The hard-working staff at Monterey, the vast majority of whom are women, aren’t asking for anything unreasonable,” said Smith. “They’re just asking to be treated fairly and with respect for the skills that they bring to seniors care. It’s shameful that the Redford government is allowing this rip-off to continue.”
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith, President, AUPE President: (780) 265-2294
Andrew Hanon, AUPE communications: (780) 932-7644