HEU members at Lakeshore Place say `yes’ to strike

News release

Employer refuses to budge on obsolete demands

HEU members who work at Lakeshore Place in Kelowna voted 74 per cent in favour of strike action today. Negotiations for a first contract for the night attendants and activity, dietary, housekeeping and laundry workers began in December 2001, and broke off in late July. The private, for-profit assisted living facility owned by Pacific Sun Enterprises is home to about 84 seniors.

“This employer expects these 34 workers to agree to completely unacceptable terms, but they said, `No’,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “These workers joined a union for a reason — they want better working conditions.”

Pacific Sun offered a two per cent wage increase in the first year of a four-year agreement, with one per cent in each of the remaining three years. This would mean that at the end of the collective agreement most employees would be making less than $10.00 per hour, says Allnutt.

There would be no long-term disability provision, no pension plan or language to protect human rights. The sick leave benefits would be capped at 75 days, paid at 50 per cent of regular wages and only paid upon hospitalization, surgery or the fifth day of absence due to illness.

“The employer is not only insisting on their draconian demands, they are rolling back scheduling provisions which were agreed to only a few months ago,” says Allnutt. “Workers won’t accept that. They want to be able to support themselves and their families with dignity while attending to the needs of the seniors who live at Lakeshore.”

The Lakeshore Place workers certified with HEU in July 2001. Pacific Sun Enterprises also owns or is part owner of Stillwaters Private Hospital, Westside Care Centre, Sandalwood Retirement Resort and Sunpoint.

-30- Contact Dale Fuller, communications officer, 604-456-7036 or Kathy Jessome, HEU director, 250-960-9786