AUPE accuses retirement home of unionbusting

The union claims the employer has disciplined 3 workers who were union chapter executives just because they were involved in organizing the union.

Earlier this week, the Alberta Labour Relations Board released their latest new applications report, and one application was submitted by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

In that application, AUPE claims that the employer, 589184 Alberta Ltd., has participated in unionbusting tactics.

According to Alberta Health Services, 589184 Alberta Ltd. operates Whitehorn Village Retirement Community, an independent living, assisted living, and memory care community in Calgary.

Support independent journalism

The website for the community says that it is owned by a private, for-profit company called Origin. Representatives for 589184 Alberta Ltd. that AUPE listed in its ALRB application include Origin’s founder and their vice president of support and assisted living programmes.

Last summer, 100 licenced practical nurses (LPNs) and healthcare aides (HCAs) at Whitehorn Village voted by mail-in ballot to join AUPE.

While their election was successful, the health workers have yet to negotiate a collective agreement with the employer. In fact, it wasn’t until this past March—nearly 6 months ago—that the employer finally sat down with AUPE reps to resume bargaining talks, despite the fact that the AUPE bargaining team had received worker feedback nearly a year ago.

In an update posted to their website earlier this month, AUPE reported that the employer negotiating team rejected every monetary proposal AUPE brought to the table, including increasing the evening shift premium to $3 per hour from 75¢ an hour, the night shift premium to $5 per hour from $1.25, and the weekend premium to $3.25 per hour from $1.50.

Those proposals would’ve brought shift premiums closer to the average rates in the continuing-care sector.

Instead, the employer proposed an annual wage increase of only 1% over the next 3 years, despite inflation being over 7% at the moment in Alberta. In contrast, according to AUPE, Whitehorn paid more than $40,000 in bonuses to managers, who also received raises ranging from 3% to 5%.

Negotiations seem to be at an impasse, as AUPE indicated to its Whitehorn members that they were going to have to apply for mediation.

Also in that update, AUPE claimed unionbusting from the employer:

Your employer is targeting union activists and members of your negotiating team, looking for excuses to discipline them. This is clearly an attempt to intimidate members and create division.

This is mirrored in AUPE’s recent application to the ALRB, which alleges that “the employer is discouraging and intimidating employees from supporting a union, and in doing so is interfering with administration of a union” and that they “interfered with the internal administration and the union’s representation of employees.”

More specifically, AUPE claimed that the employer had “disciplined 3 chapter executive members in retaliation for their involvement for union in the certification drive”. They also allege that the employer “changed schedule with new start and stop times during the statutory freeze period” and “interfered with union’s representation of employees by not negotiating the BLS Training terms”.

Since the ALRB doesn’t archive their new application reports on their website, here’s a copy of the most recent one.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

One reply on “AUPE accuses retirement home of unionbusting”

Comment on this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: