HEU’s Pro Vita bargaining committee calls for a strong strike mandate
The committee says the wage rate for care aides at Qualicum
is well-below those paid in every other
The employer’s final offer – which included minor, agreed-upon housekeeping items and retaining the current collective agreement with an additional two per cent increase per year for three years – was presented during an October 28 bargaining session, in response to union proposals tabled on September 30.
“Our wages are lower than all the other facilities,” says bargaining committee member Patricia Walker. “We’re often working short-staffed and we have huge workloads. All this makes for intolerable working conditions that ultimately undermine our ability to provide quality care for our residents.
“A two per cent increase in each of the next three years will do nothing to help build or keep a stable care staff in our facility.”
Although Pro Vita has acknowledged the recruitment and
retention problems at the site, it has only been willing to forward those
concerns to the managing company at
And to date, Chartwell has been unwilling to open up the commercial contract between the two companies and discuss any potential adjustments that may be required to provide care staff with fair wage increases.
Having reached this impasse, the bargaining committee has scheduled a strike vote for December 4 at the Bayside Quality Inn in Parksville.
“These companies have a responsibility to provide decent caring and working conditions for their residents and staff,” says bargaining committee member Darlene Whitlock.
“Dodging that responsibility is simply unacceptable.”
Whitlock says that once there’s a strong strike mandate in place, the union’s first step will be to contact both Pro Vita and Chartwell to look at how these issues can be resolved without having to resort to job action.
If talks at that stage are not successful, she says, the process leading to job action – which begins by setting essential services levels – will be set in motion.
“We fully recognize that by standing up for ourselves and the seniors we care for, Chartwell may cancel its contract with ProVita. And that means layoffs. But the situation as it now stands cannot be allowed to continue,” says Whitlock.
“At some point, we have to be able to draw a line in the sand and insist these companies do the right thing. Substandard wages inevitably lead to substandard services and that’s what’s got to stop.”
If you need more information or clarification, please contact one of your bargaining committee members:Darlene Whitlock, 250-468-9663
Patricia Walker, 250-339-2905
David Durning, HEU bargaining representative,1-800-663-5813 ext. 7020