Bargaining continues and employer refuses to acknowledge industry standards

On Aug. 13, 14 and 15, your negotiations team came to the table prepared to continue bargaining for your first collective agreement. However, the employer’s approach to bargaining showed a lack of preparation, a refusal to acknowledge the standards for collective agreements in Alberta, and disrespect for the collective bargaining process.

Since we started bargaining back in April, Chartwell has refused to recognize the standards in the collective agreements of other unionized seniors care workers in Alberta, including first agreements. They do not want our collective agreements to be on par with other comparable assisted living and long-term care facilities and only want to model our agreement after their own in Ontario.

We work in Edmonton and know firsthand what is needed to support the residents we care for. It is only fair that our wages, benefits and protections should match this expertise and the collective agreements of other seniors-care workers doing similar work across the province.

Non-monetary Items

At this round of bargaining, we signed off on two more non-monetary provisions including:

• 24-hour notice of disciplinary meetings or investigations, so you can arrange for union representation. Both you and our union representatives must be provided with written copies of the discipline.
• Job postings: all permanent positions and temporary positions lasting longer than 6 weeks must be posted. Preference will be given for qualified internal candidates, based on seniority.

Most areas where we are not in agreement on non-monetary items relate to Chartwell’s refusal to acknowledge industry standards in Alberta. However, we agreed that we would put aside the remaining outstanding non-monetary items, so that we could move on to discussing monetary items, such as hours of work and wages.

We have also initiated the Essential Services Agreement (ESA) negotiations process, since an ESA is required if bargaining reaches an impasse. Beginning ESA negotiations is a requirement, for example, before moving to mediation or having a third-party arbitrator decide on any outstanding items. An ESA must also be concluded before a strike or a lockout.

Monetary Items

Although we advised the employer at our last bargaining they should come prepared with their monetary proposals, they did not. Although we were prepared to give them some time due to a last minute change in their spokesperson, they could not provide basic information such as confirming their current scheduling practice. This lack of preparation made meaningful discussion impossible.

Chartwell is obligated to bargain in good faith. If we do not see a change in their approach at our September bargaining dates, it may become necessary for us to take further action to make sure this employer lives up to their obligations.

Let’s continue to stand behind one another, so we can show Chartwell we will not accept less.

Bargaining continues on Sept. 16, 17 and 18. Until then if you have any questions, please contact us:

Benjamin Kiwang or 780-885-3210
Stella Diaz or 780-721-6496
Bernie Kelly or 780-717-9130

Merryn Edwards AUPE Negotiator
Farris Sobhani Organizer or 780-271-0728
Celia Shea Communications or 780-720-8122