Edmonton seniors-care workers challenging corporate giant tomorrow
Over 200 Edmonton-based seniors-care workers are the next group of Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) members to take their struggle to the streets and call on their employer to settle a fair collective agreement.
Nursing care and support care staff at Heritage Valley, Wild Rose and Griesbach have been in bargaining for a first collective agreement with Chartwell, the private for-profit owner of the assisted living and memory care homes, for over seven months. After seeing no monetary offers from the company, they’ve decided to take their fight to the streets with a rally tomorrow:
Wednesday, Dec. 18
3:00 – 4:00 pm
4480 McCrae Ave NW
Media, the public and residents are invited to attend.
“These workers are fighting for the basic protections we all deserve: a say in their health and safety; a process for dealing with harassment and violence; a work-life balance. They want a voice in the workplace, but that would mean Chartwell has to stop cutting corners,” said AUPE Vice-President Karen Weiers.
Since bargaining began the employer has made it impossible for members to gain a firm footing. They made changes to staff’s working conditions during their freeze period. They caused unnecessary stress around schedules and even issued layoff notices.
Members stayed strong, resolving all of these issues. However, even as they signed off language for their collective agreement, Chartwell kept creating chaos, paying some staff less than what they should be earning, then trying to block AUPE’s application for third-party bargaining assistance following the company's refusal to table monetary offers.
“What's so disturbing about this is Chartwell is one of the most profitable Canadian companies in seniors housing. In 2017 they raked in over $13-million net income. In comparison, many of our members work their job at Chartwell, caring for Edmonton seniors, only to go to their second or third job so they can care for their own families.
To think this is one of the corporations benefiting from the UCP's $4.5-billion tax break makes me sick because the money’s clearly not making it to the people who need it most,” adds Weiers.
That’s not stopping staff though. In Quebec, Chartwell employees from three unionized seniors homes are striking in protest of the company’s greediness. There, staff are working without any pension or drug benefits for about $13.50/hr. They’re fighting for a pay increase and better working conditions to combat high staff turnover, which is threatening seniors care.
“Tomorrow, our Chartwell members will stand in solidarity with their fellow members in Edmonton, their fellow workers in Quebec and seniors across the country.”
For more information, please contact:
Celia Shea, communications officer, 780-720-8122