Royal City Manor care providers ratify new contract

News release

Wage and benefit improvements reflect value of health workers in long-term care

Members of the Hospital Employees’ Union working at Royal City Manor, a private for-profit long-term care facility in New Westminster, have voted 93 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement that raises hourly wage rates and improves benefits to more accurately reflect the important care and services these workers provide to seniors.

“This agreement sends a clear message to other private employers in long-term care that the time has come to properly recognize the valuable role that caregivers have in providing care and services to seniors,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “It establishes a good precedent for private workplaces and it’s one that we intend to build upon throughout B.C.’s private long-term care system.”

Across-the-board increases will total $1.65 per hour (an average of 10.1 per cent) over the two-year life of the agreement, which runs from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2001. And there are improvements in benefits including better sick leave, extended health and long-term disability provisions, increased vacation time, and for the first time, modest shift premiums and an RRSP plan.

The HEU members - which include care and activity aides, housekeepers, and laundry, maintenance, food services and clerical workers - have been certified with the union since January 29, 1993. Under the previous employer, labour relations were extremely contentious, with the most basic of workers’ rights flaunted by management. Despite the demoralizing conditions, the more than 100 care providers have persevered, and with the last round of bargaining, achieved a fair collective agreement.

Royal City Manor is now owned by CPL Long-Term Care Real Estate Investment Trust (CPL REIT), the largest, private for-profit owner/operator of seniors’ long-term care facilities in Canada.