Strike vote may be held

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees say a strike vote may be in the future for 115 nursing and support staff at an Innisfail seniors facility. According to a Tuesday press release, AUPE employees will plan a strike vote after their employer rejected an independent mediator’s recommended settlement. The employees who may have to vote on whether job action is necessary work at Sunset Manor/Country Lodge, which is owned by Chantelle Management.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees say a strike vote may be in the future for 115 nursing and support staff at an Innisfail seniors facility.

According to a Tuesday press release, AUPE employees will plan a strike vote after their employer rejected an independent mediator’s recommended settlement. The employees who may have to vote on whether job action is necessary work at Sunset Manor/Country Lodge, which is owned by Chantelle Management.

“We were very disappointed, and now the workers have been forced into a position where they have to consider job action,” said Perry, AUPE staff negotiator.

“They don’t want to take this action, but Chantelle has left them no choice.”

Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, AUPE vice-president, said employees are paid as much as 20 per cent below the industry standard, even though Chantelle receives government funding to pay nursing staff at the same rates as Alberta Health Services employees.

“On top of that, they have no health benefits and get no sick leave at all.”

Employees at the seniors living facility voted to join AUPE in May 2013 and are trying to negotiate their first collective agreement. According to AUPE when face-to-face negotiations failed to achieve a settlement by November, an independent mediator was called in.

Sunset Manor/Country Lodge is a 136-bed facility, with some spaces for seniors with dementia. Of those beds, 92 are funded by AHS.

AUPE said the employees bargaining committee will meet in the coming days to determine the next steps towards holding a strike vote.

Chantelle Management had no comment because they had yet to receive any formal notice from AUPE with regard to their intentions.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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