Sunridge Place workers find their “true” employer

Labour Relations Board ruling paves the way for bargaining a first collective agreement

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The BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) has ruled that Sunridge Place Ltd. Partnership is the true employer for the more than 200 HEU members working at the private, for-profit residential care facility in Duncan on Vancouver Island, paving the way for bargaining for a first collective agreement to begin.

The decision is a result of a complaint filed by the union at the LRB in mid-December 2009 after staff were given layoff notices on December 1, 2009.

Duncan Care Campus Ltd. – the company that Sunridge claimed was the workers’ employer – issued the layoff notices which led to the union’s complaint. Just days before, on November 27, the Sunridge workers had voted 72 per cent in favour of joining HEU.

“The LRB decision is a real victory for our members at Sunridge,” says assistant secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson. “Now we can focus on negotiating a first collective agreement and will be looking to schedule dates with Sunridge as soon as possible.”

HEU is waiting to hear back from Sunridge after contacting the employer to set up bargaining dates.

HEU Sunridge members provide care and support to the residents at the facility as licensed practical nurses, care aides, recreation aides, and dietary, housekeeping and other support services workers.

Sunridge Place, a private, for-profit residential care and assisted living facility, opened in 2008 and is funded by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Also in 2008, VIHA announced the closure of Duncan’s 27-year-old, public long-term care home, Cowichan Lodge, stating that the Lodge did not meet government guidelines for complex care.