Last week, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees published an update regarding ongoing negotiations with the Bethany Nursing Home in Camrose.
The Bethany Group is a Christian organization based out of Camrose and provides health and housing services in 30 communities throughout Central Alberta.
They employ over 100 workers in their Bashaw Valley Lodge, Rosealta Lodge, and Stoney Creek Lodge locations in Camrose, including cooks, housekeepers, maintenance workers, licensed practical nurses, and supportive living workers. The most recent collective agreement for these workers expired at the end of March 2020, over 3 years ago.
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The negotiating teams for Bethany and AUPE met together on the 20th and 21st of April to bargain on the new contract. Here’s what the employer offered for wage increases over a 4-year contract.
That comes out to a total increase of just 2.5%, or an average of 0.625% per year.
This comes on top of a wage freeze in 2018. That means 3 years of wage freezes over the past 6 years. Plus, The Bethany Group refuses to propose a lump sum payment for work done during the beginning of the pandemic.
In March 2019, the last time these workers were scheduled to get a raise, Alberta’s consumer price index was 143.1. Four years later, in March 2022, the CPI was 161.7. That’s a 13% increase in inflation.
Yet, The Bethany Group thinks workers should be happy with an increase of only 3.5%. That’s essentially a pay cut.
What they were spending $1000 on in 2019 now costs $1130. However, their pay for the same period would be only $1035 for every $1000.
Although AUPE hasn’t released what they had proposed for wage increases, their statement referred to the employer’s offer as “well beneath what you deserve”.
AUPE says that their next step is to go to develop an essential services agreement with the employer and then go to formal mediation.