Arranglen Gardens' care aides ratify first collective agreement

Bargaining bulletin

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Following nine months of difficult negotiations with Pro Vita Care Management – that included a strike mandate in mid-July and the employer’s threat to terminate its contract – HEU care aides at Arranglen Gardens in Qualicum Beach have ratified a first collective agreement.

The new contract includes an immediate wage hike of 75 cents an hour with a further 50 cent-an-hour increase on September 1, 2007. It also allows members to accumulate up to 100 hours of sick leave. Any accumulations over 100 hours will be paid out on January 17 of each year.

The bargaining committee reports an exceptionally high turnout at the September 26 ratification vote where 63 per cent of the membership cast their ballots in favour of the tentative contract.

“The results of this vote show that members understood the extreme restrictions their bargaining committee was operating within,” says HEU bargaining spokesperson Susan Fisher.

“But they also wanted to give their employer a clear message that they know the value of their work and will build on this first contract in the next round of negotiations.”

The agreement expires on August 31, 2008.

“In the meantime, this first contract provides workers and residents with an important measure of stability, as Arranglen Gardens prepares to move to a new facility in November,” she says. “And we were able to put a stop to the employer’s attempt to introduce a two-tier wage and vacation policy.”

Members’ dental, extended health and LTD plans, as well as the four-week vacation entitlement, were all secured with the employer continuing to pay 75 per cent of the benefit plans’ costs.

Copies of the signed collective agreement will be available for members within the next four to six weeks.