The largest legal seniors care strike in Alberta’s history is expected to begin Monday at 11 a.m. at eight Extendicare worksites province-wide.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents more than 1,200 staff at Extendicare, served the employer with 72-hour strike notice this morning.
AUPE said staff will offer ‘life and limb support’ in cases of emergencies. The union encourages concerned family members to contact Extendicare directly about their contingency plan.
“It was our goal from the start of negotiations to come to a fair agreement quickly. It was clear from the onset Extendicare was not willing to do the same,” said AUPE President Guy Smith.
“Alberta’s health minister Fred Horne needs to order a review of private sector involvement in long-term care,” said Smith. “We are seeing dispute after dispute in private seniors care and it needs to be addressed.”
Extendicare is pushing net earnings rollbacks, which means staff take-home pay would go backward; drastic reductions in sick time, meaning staff would be forced to work sick, which is hazardous for them and elderly residents; and the lowest number of named holidays in any health-care agreement in Alberta.
“This dispute is about standing up for residents’ quality of care and staff are serious about defending that care,” said AUPE Negotiator Kevin Davediuk.
“Quality care requires stability of employment. That stability comes from a fair collective agreement that is consistent with Alberta’s seniors care labour market,” said Davediuk.
Extendicare backed out of mediation scheduled for today.
The eight worksites are located in Edmonton, Eaux Claires and Holyrood; Calgary, Ceaders Villa and Hillcrest; Red Deer, Michener Hill; Lethbridge, Fairmont Park; Athabasca and Mayerthorpe.
The eight Extendicare worksites control around 1,000 care beds.