May 29, 2017 10:40 pm
Updated: May 30, 2017 1:32 am

Workers at an Alberta seniors home to be fired; AUPE files complaint

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

File/Global News

A company that operates long-term care homes for seniors in northeastern Alberta says it’s firing current nursing care employees and going with a private contractor rather than trying to bargain a first contract with them.

Points West Living sent a letter last week to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees notifying them of their plan for their facility in Cold Lake.

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The Ontario-based company locked out 30 workers on Dec. 16, and the workers in Cold Lake joined AUPE in March 2015 and were trying to get their first collective agreement with the company.

AUPE president Guy Smith says the union filed a complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board and applied for a cease-and-desist order to try to stop the cuts of licensed practical nurses and health aides.

He says Points West Living sent its letter about the terminations the day after the Alberta government introduced Bill 17, the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, in the legislature.

He says the bill has provisions to settle first collective agreements in newly unionized sites.

Smith says workers were trying to address staff shortages, as well as get training and fair scheduling in their first contract. He says residents in the home are not getting the services they deserve.

“They see the staff as part of their extended families and it really hurts our members when they say, ‘I don’t have time to spend with you, I have many more patients to look after. It’s really about the quality of care in an environment that should be very supportive of folks in there.

What’s happening at the Cold Lake long-term care home is something that should concern all of us, Smith said.

“Members of the public have loved ones in these facilities, and they should care when they place one of their loved ones in these facilities that they get the level of care they deserve and that’s not happening. It’s something we should all care about especially as we all age and we ourselves could end up in some of these facilities.”

No one at Points West Living could be reached for comment. It also operates long-term care homes in Grande Prairie, Lloydminster, Vegreville, Wainwright, Stettler, Peace River, Red Deer and Slave Lake.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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