Seniors' care staff from Okanagan, Kootenays choose HEU

Union welcomes new members in Penticton, Summerland and Creston

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More than 225 health care workers from three separate seniors’ care facilities in the interior have joined the Hospital Employees’ Union over the past week.

On Friday afternoon, the BC Labour Relations Board counted ballots and announced that workers at the Good Samaritan’s ‘Village by the Station’ care facility in Penticton have voted to join the Hospital Employees’ Union. The workers cast their ballots two weeks ago.

The facility provides extended, dementia and complex care as well as assisted living. HEU’s 140 new members provide nursing, maintenance, clerical and support services.

They’ll be bargaining for a first collective agreement alongside other new HEU members who work for Good Samaritan at facilities in Salmon Arm and on the Sunshine Coast.

It’s the second group of health care workers in the Okanagan to join HEU this week.

This past Monday, about 60 workers at Summerland Seniors’ Village voted to join HEU. They include care aides, activity workers, LPNs, clerical staff and maintenance workers. The Summerland care home is operated by Well Being Seniors Services Ltd. (Retirement Concepts).

And earlier this week, the LRB confirmed that HEU is the bargaining representative for 26 workers at Creston’s Crest View Village who had voted last month to join the union.

They work as care aides and resident advisors and also provide laundry, housekeeping and dietary services. Crest View Village is a supportive housing and assisted living facility.

The new Creston members will bargain together with HEU members at Rocky Mountain Village in Fernie. Golden Life Management operates both facilities.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy thanked the union’s newest members for their support at the ballot box.

“There are big challenges for health care workers as they strive to provide the best care possible for seniors,” says Darcy.

“But by joining together in one union, we can tackle issues like workload, health and safety, wages and benefits – and improve our workplaces for the benefit of both workers and residents.”