Continuing-care workers who staff the Bethany CollegeSide, Bethany Sylvan Lake and Bethany Didsbury long-term care and supportive living homes rallied in Red Deer Wednesday. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Central Alberta continuing-care workers rally in Red Deer

Central Alberta continuing-care workers gathered in Red Deer to rally for frontline staff.

More than 30 workers who staff the Bethany CollegeSide, Bethany Sylvan Lake and Bethany Didsbury long-term care and supportive living homes rallied on the corner of 32 Street and College Boulevard Wednesday.

“Negotiations are not going well for this group of members,” said Karen Weiers, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees vice-president.

“They’re looking at cutbacks and rollbacks from the employer. They don’t feel they should be having that and they shouldn’t be. They take care of our most vulnerable and they do this job, they work hard, they often work short and they need to be looked after and compensated for what they do. That is not happening with this Bethany Group.”

Bonnie Gostola, another AUPE vice-president, said Alberta is in a continuing-care crisis.

“Our province is over-run with private, out-of-province companies who shamelessly sacrifice care and a quality work environment for their own profit.

“Working Albertans and families are tired of it, and today Bethany members are raising their voice,” said Gostola.

Weiers said the workers aren’t the only ones being affected.

“When you have a facility where the door is constantly rotating open because they can’t retain staff, that is hard on the residents.

“They need to see those familiar faces, they need to see those familiar people. These (workers) are like their second family and they need that constant care and attention these workers give. That’s something Bethany needs to be aware of,” she said.

Bethany Group is “not willing to give any kind of negotiated wording that helps protect their job here,” Weiers said, adding that’s a major concern for continuing-care workers.

These workers work hard and they care for the residents and they care for the families of the residents, she said.

“For them to have to work two to three jobs to have to make their own income work … is tiring and hard for them. Their first priority is the residents within Bethany and that’s one of the main reasons they’re out here. They want to stop the revolving door so they can have the consistent care that these workers provide.”

Weiers said Albertans should be aware of how the negotiations are going.

This was the second of four rallies for Bethany continuing-care workers held in Alberta. The next rally will be Sept. 30 in Airdrie.

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