AUPE files labour board complaint over delays in monetary bargaining
After more than one year since the government announced that funding for home care would increase by 12 per cent, CBI workers still do not have a proposal from our employer to increase our wages and other compensation that reflects the expanded public funding. [Click here for more information in our last bargaining update].
CBI blames the delays on Alberta Health Services, but it is us as workers who suffer when we cannot keep up with the rising costs of living. The clients we serve also suffer when staffing is not stable because of the low rates of pay for CBI employees.
As a result, AUPE has filed a complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board because CBI has cancelled bargaining and delayed monetary discussions in negotiations on multiple occasions.
We were hopeful that we would finally be able to move on to serious monetary discussions at our last bargaining meetings on March 16 and 17, especially since the government announced a further 20 per cent increase for home care funding at the beginning of the month. The total budget for home care in 2023-34 is $893 million, compared to approximately $670 million in 2021.
But what good are funding announcements, if there’s no plan to make sure that that funding improves the wages and working conditions of the workers delivering the care?
Instead of providing a proposal to help us keep pace with inflation, CBI shared with us a letter from AHS saying that their current contract (which was set to expire at the end of March) is extended until the end of September. So, because AHS is making CBI wait to see what their new funding rates will be, they are passing those delays onto us.
The only good news we got from CBI in bargaining was that they would continue the $2 HCA wage top up, even if the government decided not to continue paying for it as a pandemic pay premium after March 31. By their own admission, CBI knows that they would lose unprecedented numbers of employees if wages suddenly dropped by $2.
CBI is confident that AHS will increase their funding rates, and AHS confirmed that any increase would be retroactive to April 1st. So why not move ahead with pay increases in the collective agreement?
We know that CBI can afford to pay more, even if AHS were not increasing their funding. Currently AHS provides funding to CBI at a rate of $32.15/per hour for work performed by community care HCAs. However, the average wage for an HCA employed by CBI is only $17.53, which means that CBI holds onto 45 per cent!
Meanwhile, we cannot make ends meet on such low wages, especially since most of us are not compensated at all for fuel even though we drive long distances to care for our clients.
At this important stage in bargaining, it is more important than ever that members get involved and informed.
Make sure that you plan to attend our upcoming Annual General Meeting:
Thursday, March 30 7:30 – 9pm at Canterra Suites Hotel (11010 Jasper Avenue).
Join us for food and drinks, as well as good company and great discussion! This is your chance to get informed about bargaining and many other aspects of the union. If you can’t attend, but would still like to get involved, send us an email letting us know that you are interested in being considered for one or more of the union positions which are available.
We hope to see you there. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your bargaining team or AUPE resource staff.
AUPE NEGOTIATING TEAM – CBI HOME HEALTH
Tina Laforce, Chair
firstname.lastname@example.org or 587-335-2292
email@example.com or 780-984-8355
firstname.lastname@example.org or 587-501-2071
email@example.com or 780-221-4080
Racheldk@hotmail.com or 780-893-1772
AUPE RESOURCE STAFF
Merryn Edwards, Negotiations
firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-952-1951
Tracy Noble, Organizing
email@example.com or 306-304-2859
Kavi Chahal, Communications