The union representing workers at Extendicare Michener Hill says the Extendicare wants to cut wages while managers and shareholders get bonuses and dividends.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said bargaining resumed last week and Canada’s largest private home care provider wants to slash wages for its Alberta employees by four per cent.
“It’s a slap in the face. These workers have sacrificed so much to care for Albertans throughout this pandemic, and this is the thanks they get? It’s outrageous,” said AUPE vice-president Bobby-Joe Borodey in a statement.
The AUPE said the rollback proposal is even more insulting considering how the company has managed its finances. The company solicited millions from the federal government, ostensibly to fight COVID-19, but it had no trouble paying its shareholders over $10 million dollars every financial quarter during the pandemic.
“Imagine paying millions to shareholders, and then claiming you need government support only to try cutting your employees’ wages anyway,” Borodey said.
Extendicare’s proposals come shortly after Alberta Health Services offered a similar package, including a four per cent wage rollback, to AUPE members working in AHS General Support Services.
Borodey said Extendicare’s disrespect towards its own workers is an example of why all profit-motives should be kept out of the health care system.
“The Kenney government’s approach to health care is already a disaster. Kenney thinks you can put a price on health care and as a result wants to roll back wages and fire over 11,000 workers. Private providers like Extendicare are even worse because not only do they put a price on health care, but they also hoard that money for profit.”
Extendicare said it could confirm that it continues to work diligently to achieve an agreement with its partners.
“At this time, it would be inappropriate to offer further comment, given negotiations remain ongoing,” said a statement from Extendicare.