CUPE trying to unionize 45 care workers

The owner tried to get rid of the unionized workers when they contracted out to a third party, but the tables may have turned.

Earlier this week, the Alberta Labour Relations Board released their most recent New Applications Report. In the report is a new application for union certification in Alberta.

The application was submitted by Local 1099 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees on 20 January 2022. They’re applying for union certification for a group of 45 workers who are working for the Century Park in Vegreville.

The 129-unit supportive care facility has been designated a level 4 supportive living facility by Alberta Health Services, and it is owned by the for-profit company Optima Living, which has 26 locations across BC and Alberta. It’s operated by Pro Vita Care Management.

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This isn’t the first time CUPE has organized workers at a Pro Vita facility. The union (through its BC arm, the Hospital Employees’ Union) organized care aides in 2020 at a Vancouver facility run by the company. HEU also bargains on behalf of workers at several other BC locations.

In 2019, 53 workers lost their jobs at this facility when Optima Living contracted out health care work to Pro Vita. It seems things are now coming full circle: contract out services to get rid of unionized workers, only to have workers try to unionize again.

The ALRB has scheduled a hearing date for this application: 3 February.

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

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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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