Caregivers will keep jobs

A dozen unionized caregivers and other staff at a Lacombe supportive living home will not lose their jobs.

A dozen unionized caregivers and other staff at a Lacombe supportive living home will not lose their jobs.

The Health Sciences Association of Alberta said on Wednesday it had an agreement worked out with Christenson Developments, the owner of The Manor at Royal Oak Village, to retain the employees and extend an existing collective agreement.

Workers who don’t want to stay will be eligible for severance.

Health Sciences Association president Elizabeth Ballermann said she went to the Alberta Labour Relations Board last Thursday after being notified by the Good Samaritan Society, which had run Royal Oak Village until turning it over to Christenson Developments, that the company was not planning to recognize the collective agreement and keep the staff.

Ballermann said the company was advertising for replacement workers at a lower pay scale.

Under labour law, there are provisions that require incoming employers to inherit collective agreements and the employees covered by it.

On Monday, the union heard from Christenson Developments legal representatives that they would agree to a settlement allowing workers to stay or take a severance package.

The workers, who include personal support workers and cooks among other positions, were covered by a contract that expires on Feb. 1. Now, that agreement has been extended for another year under a bridging clause.

“We’re really pleased that they have seen the light, if you will, from the perspective of not only our members, but (of) the people that require the care at that residence,” said Ballermann.

Many of the staff are involved in providing intimate personal care to the seniors and know how best to meet their needs.

Royal Oak Village is a 73-suite, four-storey residence for seniors offering independent and support living accommodations near Canadian University College.

Christenson Developments and the province announced a $16.8-million expansion that will add 88 more units this year, according to the company’s website.

A message left for Christenson Developments for comment was not returned.

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