May 18th, 2024

AUPE stages job action to protest lack of contract


By Lethbridge Herald on October 6, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski AUPE workers at Extendicare Fairmont Park hold a job action on Wednesday to demand a fair wage and fair contract from their employer.

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Local members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees held a job action at the Extendicare Fairmont Park seniors care facility on Wednesday to protest the fact they have been without a contract for the past three years.

“What you see here today is a bunch of employees that work hard and give it their all each and every day, and they are currently without a contract, and have been since 2018,” says AUPE vice-president Karen Weirs. “They are upset with this employer. What they are offering is absolutely degrading to the services they provide. We would like to see the employer get back to the bargaining table and offer a fair and equitable collective agreement.”

Weirs says the company’s latest offer is a zero per cent pay increase over the next three years, and a 15 per cent cutback in employee sick time. Extendicare is also seeking cuts to employee benefits. All this after initially expecting workers to take a four per cent pay cut, she says.

“That (four per cent decrease) has since come off the table, but the offer on the table right now is three years of zeros and the following year is not much better,” Weirs states. 

“It is absolutely disgusting what this employer, who makes millions of dollars that goes to shareholders and managers, (is doing) off the backs of these workers.”

Weirs says the disrespect shown by Extendicare to its workers will have repercussions within the workplace as employees grow fed up and potentially seek work elsewhere, or escalate their job actions if not treated fairly.

The whole situation is particularly galling for local workers, says Weirs, after their harrowing last 18 months of working on the frontlines of a deadly, global pandemic.

“Let’s not forget we are in the middle of a pandemic,” she states. “This pandemic isn’t over. These caregivers are the ones that provide the care, and they are the second family for a lot of these residents. And these workers are the ones who are putting their health, their lives, their families’ lives on the line. And Extendicare is actually willing and wanting to actually take benefits and sick time away from the workers who provide this care.”

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