MEMBER UPDATE: Employers still not providing certainty for $2 raises
Many healthcare heroes wait for modest pay bump announced April 20
AUPE members have been looking for answers since April 20 when Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that funding was coming for $2 an hour raises for health care aides in continuing care.
This announcement was made without any consultation whatsoever with AUPE or other unions. Over six weeks later, AUPE has been forced to take further action, with grievances now being filed with multiple providers to involve AUPE members in the process and protect raises in contract language.
Timeline of Problems
We have learned since April 20 that the funding for raises is not being provided for members working for Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, CapitalCare and CareWest, but that it is being provided to private providers for health care aides in long-term care and designated supportive living spaces.
AUPE learned in a May 15 news article that funding was given to the employers on May 8 and that workers were to expect the pay on their next paycheque. Many members still have not seen this pay almost a month after the employers received the funds.
AUPE members fixing the problems
AUPE members have publicly raised issues about this situation, highlighting the important work and risks being taken by the whole health care team and all essential workers. Licensed Practical Nurses, housekeepers, food service workers, social workers, correctional officers and many more are on the front lines of this pandemic and are just as deserving of recognition.
When we learned that the providers had received the funding, AUPE reached out to them to initiate negotiation of Letters of Understanding to ensure that any raises provided be enforceable with collective agreement language. AUPE members took this opportunity to raise the issue of the health care workers who had been left out of these raises.
Employers can afford to do better
On May 19, Minister Shandro announced $14 million per month retroactive to March 15 was being given to private providers, on top of the funding previously announced on April 20. Clearly, funding is available to support all workers at these facilities
Despite misleading statements from at least one employer, AUPE has not and does not oppose raises going to health care aides or any of our members. Other provinces have provided $4 an hour boosts to a much larger range of employees and AUPE members have called for similar measures to happen here.
While some employers engaged with AUPE to work out the details and provide clarity to our members about when these raises are coming and who is getting them, many employers have not.
Grievances filed to bring union to the table
That is why this week AUPE will be filing grievances with a number of employers to require their participation in Letter of Understanding negotiations. Further measures including complaints to the Alberta Labour Relations Board are being considered.
Workers and their unions deserve to be involved in how decisions are made on their worksites.
AUPE is not and never will be opposed to wage increases for members. We will strongly oppose efforts by employers to bypass your collectively bargained agreements, as you deserve representation from your official bargaining agent.
The only way to ensure that the pay raises are applied fairly and promptly is for your union to have a seat at the table. Not all employers can be trusted to do the right thing. This program has been a failure because some employers have tried to bypass your union.
Still having problems? Call your Membership Services Officer
If you are a health care aide and have not yet received this pay retroactive to April 20, or if your employer has not provided clear communication on when it is coming to health care aides, please call AUPE immediately at 1-800-232-7284. Tell us where you work and the person answering your call will forward you to your Membership Services Officer.