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AUPE nurses protest schedule changes at Calgary seniors facility

AUPE nurses rally in front of Carewest's Colonel Belcher seniors home to protest shift changes, which they say will negatively affect quality of life for nurses and residents.
AUPE nurses rally in front of Carewest's Colonel Belcher seniors home to protest shift changes, which they say will negatively affect quality of life for nurses and residents. Tom Reynolds/Global News

Dozens of Calgary nurses rallied outside Carewest’s Colonel Belcher seniors home on Monday, vocalizing their opposition to proposed schedule changes.

AUPE vice-president Bobby-Joe Borodey said the group is protesting that its employer has made “significant changes” to schedules, which will have a “dramatic impact to their quality of life.”

AUPE is concerned the changes will sideline residents and overwork nurses.

“They want to switch things up and they want people to work evenings, days and weekends — regardless of what they were doing previously,” Borodey said.

She said it’s a decision that will affect the community at large, especially since schedule revisions might mean residents won’t see the familiar faces who understand their needs.

“Residents and staff spend numerous amount of hours forging bonds and relationships that are vital to the health and safety of the people that live here,” Borodey said.

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“These changes will significantly impact those relationships, it will significantly impact their health and safety, and they just won’t see the people that they’ve come to know and love.”

AUPE vice-president Bobby-Joe Borodey is pictured on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.
AUPE vice-president Bobby-Joe Borodey is pictured on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. Tom Reynolds/Global News

Carewest response

In a statement to Global News, Carewest said it is reviewing shift rotations at Colonel Belcher and making changes to schedules effective February 2020. It said the reason behind the move is to “reduce long work schedules, improve resident care and increase efficiency.”

“It is imperative that shift schedules align with resident need,” said Valerie Seddon, director of operations at Colonel Belcher. “No job losses or loss of hours will occur as a result of the changes, and there will be no impact to resident care or safety.”

Seddon acknowledged how shifted schedules can impact nurses.

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“We understand changes to work schedules can be disruptive to our staff’s personal lives and that is why we engaged staff and unions in this review to determine their preferences for an improved work schedule,” she said.

“Based on staff feedback, we created schedules that are resident-focused, are equitable and promote a better work-life balance.”

Seddon said the schedule modifications are in compliance with its collective agreements.

“We also provided staff with six months’ notification on the changes to help them transition to the new work schedule,” she said.