Continuing care workers promised 5% pay raise

This wage increase comes after 4 years of pay freezes, which means the increase is based on wages set back in 2016.

Last week, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees published an update on their website regarding contract negotiations.

The negotiations were between the Oregon-based Touchmark and continuing care workers at their Wedgewood facility in Edmonton, whose previous contract expired in August 2021, nearly two years ago.

In the update, the Wedgewood workers on the bargaining committee said that they had reached a tentative agreement on 27 June with the American corporation they were negotiating with.

If ratified by Wedgewood workers, the tentative 3-year agreement would include a 5% wage over the life of the contract, broken down by year as follows:


Keep in mind that between inflation for 2022 was 6% in Alberta. That means that the proposed increase for 2022 alone won’t be enough to cover the increase in inflation for last year, never mind the increase for all 3 years.

And that’s not even counting the four years of wage freezes they got in their last contract. Not only is the wage increase not keeping up with inflation, it’s an increase to a wage set back in 2016.

In addition to pay increases, Wedgewood workers are also promised to some benefits. For example, orthodontic coverage is set to increase from $2,000 to $3,000, professional services coverage will increase from $500 to $750, and the health spending account will increase from $350 to $600 and become a flexible spending account, which means workers can spend it on eligible, non-health related items.

Under the new contract, workers will get an extra bereavement day, up from 4 and licensed practical nurses will receive and additional educational day. As well, National Truth and Reconciliation Day will become a named holiday in the contract.

In a ratified agreement, Touchmark promises to increase RRSP contributions to 6% for its workers.

Workers covered by this contract would include health care aides and licensed practical nurses.

The ratification vote will take place at the Wedgwood facility on Thursday, July 13, 2022 during two timeslots: 7:00–11:00 and 14:00–16:00.

If passed, the agreement will likely expire in August 2024, so the bargaining team will have only a short break for resuming contract negotiations.

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By Kim Siever

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

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