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Security guards present for senior care facility strike

Security guards were posted at the parking lot entrance to Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge in Red Deer this morning in anticipation of the start of a strike/lockout this afternoon.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced its nearly 130 licensed practical nurses, health care aides and other staff would strike today at 1 p.m. Symphony also served AUPE with a lockout notice effective today at 1 p.m.

AUPE say their workers are prepared to provide life and limb support to residents in case of emergencies.

Symphony, a privately owned and operated seniors care facility located at 3100 22nd St., has 152 suites with a total of 157 residents. Included are 40 assisted living beds for dementia patients, four assisted living beds for non-dementia patients and five transition beds for post-hospital patients, all of which are funded by Alberta Health Services.

At issue are wages that AUPE claims are well below those for similar staff working in similar circumstances around the province.

Ontario-based Symphony Senior Living served notice this week to residents and Alberta Health Services that a year from now it is cancelling its agreement with Alberta Health to provide the 49 care beds, saying it can’t sustain its business model given the wage demands.

Staff at Aspen Ridge joined AUPE in March 2011 and bargaining began that September. Mediation began a year later and ended last November.

Private security is often hired by employers in labour disputes to ensure strikers stay off private property and to ensure safe, unimpeded access to company facilities.

 
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