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Calgary retirement workers among lowest paid in Alberta

Nursing care and GSS workers and Walden House are among the lowest paid workers at AgeCare, and the employer refuses to change that.

Yesterday, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees posted an update on their website regarding the negotiations they’ve been holding on behalf of general support and nursing care workers at a Calgary retirement home.

AUPE has been trying to negotiate with the employer on a new contract for the workers at the Walden Heights facility for over 6 months.

The employer, AgeCare, operates 34 retirement facilities within 15 communities in Alberta and British Columbia.

Negotiations resumed at the beginning of March after being delayed due to repeated turnover on AgeCare’s negotiating team. This isn’t the first time AUPE has seen employers delay contract negotiations due to negotiating team turnover. Something similar happened when the union was trying to negotiate for Covenant Health workers.

Back in March, AUPE had reported that its members working at the Walden Heights location “are among the lowest paid workers at AgeCare” and below the industry average in Alberta, particularly for nursing care workers. In yesterday’s release, they said that GSS workers there “are the lowest paid out of all staff working for AgeCare”.

Nursing care workers at Walden have been without a contract since January 2020. Meanwhile, the most recent contract for general support workers there expired this past June.

The AUPE negotiating team claims that they have tried to negotiate wage increases that would elevate the Walden Heights nursing care and GSS workers from being the lowest paid workers at this company, but AgeCare refuses to accept AUPE’s demands.

AgeCare has also apparently refused AUPE’s recommendation to implement shift differentials, which would provide more money for workers having to work weekends and evenings.

AUPE also says that AgeCare doesn’t seem interested in implementing retroactive pay for nursing care and GSS employees who had to work during the early parts of the pandemic.

Not only all that, but AUPE also reported that AgeCare’s offers have worsened over time and referred to them as “shocking”.

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By Kim Siever

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

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