Edmonton—The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is calling on Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre, a private long-term care facility in Edmonton, to cease its flagrant disregard for the Alberta’s Single-Site Order.
Workers at Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre report that managers are asserting that they have no obligation to offer extra hours to staff who have seen their hours reduced as a result of the order. The Single-Site Order restricted the ability of workers to work at one worksite in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from one facility to another.
The Order specifies if a worker had previously been working the equivalent of full-time hours across multiple facilities, managers are required to provide that worker with full-time hours at a single facility.
“The Single-Site Order protects patients,” says Mike Dempsey, Vice-President of AUPE. “It is an essential part of how we stop the spread of COVID to our seniors. But it only works if you are also protecting staff.”
For too long, Dempsey says, workers have lacked stable employment at specific sites, forcing workers into a situation where they must work multiple jobs in order to survive. This work structure, he says, has been “a disaster for both workers and patients, even in normal times.”
The rescheduling of hours has not been happening at Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre. Managers have refused to provide additional hours when requested to do so by workers who are simply attempting to follow important public health guidelines.
“Good Samaritan is already facing a class-action lawsuit for their mishandling of COVID-19 during the first wave,” Dempsey says. “It’s as if they haven’t learned any lessons from their outbreaks over the summer, which saw dozens of residents die. The employer should focus less on cost-cutting, and more on keeping workers and residents safe.”
“Good Samaritan’s website lists that four workers at the site have tested positive for COVID-19 right now,” Dempsey says. “These workers are putting themselves at risk already, and the employer isn’t even following basic legal obligations. Our frontline workers need to be able to put food on the table.”
Dempsey says that the union will continue to fight against employers who put costs before safety. “Good Samaritan can expect to keep hearing from us until they start to fulfill their obligations,” he says. “Workers and patients can’t wait for the market to align with public health.”
—Mike Dempsey is available for comment. For more information, contact Jon Milton, Communications Officer, email@example.com