MEDIA RELEASE: Continuing-care bailout should support residents and staff, not millionaire profits
Profitable corporations should not be rewarded for their pandemic failures
EDMONTON – Members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) are calling for a suspension of profits and executive bonuses at continuing care in light of the May 19 announcement of $14 million per month funding to private and even profitable continuing-care corporations.
“During the announcement, Health Minister Tyler Shandro acknowledged more than 70 per cent of Alberta’s COVID-19 deaths have been in continuing care,” says Kevin Barry, vice-president of AUPE, which represents 95,000 workers, including more than 58,000 employed in public, for-profit and not-for-profit health-care providers.
“What he left out was that a disproportionate majority of those deaths and outbreaks have occurred in for-profit centres. Providing this money while still allowing multi-million dollar corporations like Revera and Chartwell to run a profit is rewarding them for their failures.”
Publicly traded for-profit continuing-care corporations Chartwell and Extendicare posted combined revenues of more than $2 billion for 2019, with millions of dollars in compensation to executives who are not on the front lines of pandemic care.
“Residents and staff have had to sacrifice their safety during the pandemic, and to do right by those residents and staff, for-profit providers should have profits suspended and to dip into their revenues to manage this crisis instead of expecting a publicly funded bailout,” says Barry.
“Measures to improve staffing and pay in these facilities are welcome, but they are still falling short of other jurisdictions who have recognized the work of LPNs, housekeepers, food-service workers and more with raises of up to $4 an hour. Alberta can do better in supporting their important work and so can for-profit providers.”
AUPE Vice-President Kevin Barry is available for comment.
For more information contact Trevor Zimmerman, Communications, 780-919-9975