Red Deer seniors home served with strike notices

A Red Deer seniors care facility that has 152 units is set to be hit by a strike/lockout on Friday.

A Red Deer seniors care facility that has 152 units is set to be hit by a strike/lockout on Friday.

A total of 130 workers at Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge have served strike notice that goes into effect at 1 p.m. on Friday, the same time the company has said a lockout notice will go into effect.

The company says service to seniors will not be compromised as replacement workers will be employed.

Alberta Health says it will monitor the situation. Alberta Health provides funding for 44 supportive living beds at the facility, including some beds for dementia patients.

Symphony Aspen Ridge is a privately owned and operated seniors care facility located at 3100 22nd St.

Both sides say they are interested in returning to negotiations to avoid the strike and lockout.

AUPE president Guy Smith said the company is putting profit before the needs of its clients. AUPE represents the workers.

On Tuesday, close to 130 licensed practical nurses, health care aides and other specialized staff served strike notice at Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge.

Contract talks failed after more than a year of mediation. Caregivers first voted in favour of strike action on Jan. 2.

Symphony responded by serving Alberta Union of Provincial Employees with a lockout notice.

Bargaining began in September 2011. Mediation began a year later and ended in November 2012.

Smith said Symphony, based in Ontario, stated at the bargaining table that it needs a 30 to 40 per cent profit margin.

It’s unfortunate when profit is the deciding factor in providing seniors care, and care to vulnerable people, he said.

Smith said instead of taxpayers’ dollars going to staff wages, the money is going towards profit. Depending on the classification of worker, the average wage at Symphony is 20 to 25 per cent below the industry standard, he said.

“That really is the crux of the problem here. AHS funds these companies but doesn’t have any strings attached to ensure the funding goes for what it’s intended for. It’s left up to the company as to how they actually use those funds,” Smith said.

Lisa Brush, Symphony Senior Living CEO, said her company has never demanded a profit level of 30 to 40 per cent.

“We don’t make anything close to that and that is not the reason we’re not able to provide the level of increase that (AUPE) are requesting,” Brush said.

The problem is that the AUPE is demanding a 35 per cent wage increase over four years for health care aids, she said.

“They are trying to get to a wage parity for that category that is reflected in hospitals, nursing homes and fully-funded operations. We are none of those,” Brush said.

Kim Van Dam, Symphony vice-president of operations, said the company is fully prepared in the event of job action.

“There will be no disruption of service. Our residents’ safety and quality of services of care will not be compromised,” Van Dam said.

Replacement staff working with all residents will be qualified, she said.

AUPE said it will offer life and limb support to residents in the case of emergencies during the work action.

In a written statement, Alberta health Services said it is working with Symphony Senior Living to ensure that patient care will not be affected during a labour dispute.

AHS will implement enhanced quality assurance processes to monitor quality and resident safety standards and to ensure the ongoing viability of the provider’s contingency plans. Daily AHS oversight will include teleconferences and meetings with the site administration to review concerns, occupancy and labour action status. An AHS care manager will also visit the site on a daily basis.

Symphony also owns and operates Symphony Senior Living Inglewood in Red Deer but that facility is not affected by the dispute.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Advocate file photo
Trial of man accused of killing Red Deer doctor going ahead

Deng Mabiour is fit for four-week trial that is set to begin Nov. 22

AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Select Alberta physicians to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine next week

Some Alberta physicians will now be offering the COVID-19 vaccine. In an… Continue reading

An example of zero lot line properties. Red Deer County council approved rezoning to allow zero lot line properties on three streets in Springbrook.
Photo from Red Deer County
Narrower house lots being tested in Springbrook to improve affordability

Zero lot line homes will be built on three streets in Springbrook

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair listens to a speaker during a news conference Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Red Deer part of project to support victims of human trafficking

Federal government sends $500k over next four to Alberta-based project

Mayzie the Canada goose is back nesting in a flower pot on a backyard balcony in Anders on the Lake. (Contributed)
Canada goose back nesting on Red Deer balcony

Third year in a row geese return

FILE - Conor McGregor poses during a ceremonial weigh-in for the UFC 246 mixed martial arts bout in Las Vegas, in this Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, file photo. The UFC intends to welcome a capacity crowd at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021, when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor fight for the third time. UFC President Dana White announced his plan Wednesday, April 14, 2021, for the promotion's first sellout show in its hometown since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
UFC plans full Vegas crowd in July at Poirier-McGregor fight

The UFC intends to welcome a capacity crowd at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile… Continue reading

Juno Awards signage hangs in downtown Saskatoon on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Organizers of the Juno Awards say they've postponed this year's 50th-anniversary celebration until June 6 "out of an abundance of caution in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matt Smith
Juno Awards postpone 50th anniversary show date to June 6 amid COVID-19 pandemic

TORONTO — Organizers of the Juno Awards say they’re postponing this year’s… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna rises in the House of Commons following Question Period Monday March 22, 2021 in Ottawa. McKenna is announcing a $1.5-billion program designed to spur green building through retrofits, upgrades and new construction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal government unveils $1.5-billion plan to boost green building

OTTAWA — Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna has announced a $1.5-billion program designed… Continue reading

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
AstraZeneca very safe, effective, with extremely rare risk of clots: Health Canada

OTTAWA — There is enough evidence to say the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may… Continue reading

Demonstrators take cover from crowd-dispersal munitions from police outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department while protesting the shooting death of Daunte Wright, late Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Minnesota cop will be charged in shooting of Black motorist

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A prosecutor said Wednesday that he will charge… Continue reading

Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday April 21, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Housing advocates eye federal budget for aid to urban Indigenous providers

OTTAWA — The Trudeau Liberals have told stakeholders in the affordable-housing sector… Continue reading

Two women lay flowers outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died Friday April 9 aged 99. His funeral service will take place on Saturday at Windsor Castle. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Queen returns to royal duties after death of Prince Philip

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II has returned to royal duties, four days… Continue reading

The mobile phone icon for the Coinbase app is shown in this photo, in New York, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Coinbase is going public at a time when chatter about cryptocurrencies is everywhere, even at the United States Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Coinbase soars in market debut, valued near $100 billion

Coinbase made a rousing debut on Wall Street Wednesday, with the digital… Continue reading

Most Read