Contract ratified for Compass support services workers at Beacon Hill Villa

Strike ends after workers at the long-term care facility in Victoria vote 90 per cent in favour of renewed collective agreement
Bargaining bulletin

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About 20 HEU support services members – employed by Compass and working at Beacon Hill Villa in Victoria – ratified a renewed collective agreement yesterday by a 90 per cent majority vote.

Workers – in dietary, laundry and housekeeping – went on a one-week strike December 2 over substandard wages, and had been working without a contract since December 31, 2007.

“The staff returned to work after one week in the cold on the picket line, while we continued negotiating with Compass,” says HEU bargaining representative Noel Gulbransen. “It was time to settle this dispute and take the lessons learned from this round of bargaining into the next round, which could start as early as next fall.”

The new contract – which expires on December 31, 2010 – includes a $0.45 an hour wage increase upon ratification for all classifications, another $0.45 an hour increase on January 1, 2010, improvements to paid sick leave and vision care, employer-paid benefits coverage, and a signing bonus based on a percentage of retroactive wages.

“Our members were asking for a fair increase,” says Gulbransen. “Support services workers do an important job – providing healthy meals, doing personal laundry, and ensuring infection control protocols are met – to keep seniors safe and comfortable at Beacon Hill. And they deserve to earn family-supporting wages.”

Beacon Hill Villa is an 80-bed residential care facility, owned and operated by B.C.-based Retirement Concepts. This private-for-profit company contracts out direct care (temporarily to Well-Being Senior Services after Abbey Therapeutic Services, Inc. recently walked away from its contract), and support services – dietary, laundry and housekeeping – to Compass Group Canada.