Drumheller care home workers win 9% wage increase

These workers also received changes to bereavement leave and health benefits.

In the July 2023 Bargaining Update released earlier this month, Alberta’s jobs, economy, and northern development ministry indicated that a new collective agreement for workers in Drumheller had been reached.

Settled on 4 July 2023, the new agreement is between Drumheller & District Seniors Foundation and Local 715 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents about 60 workers at two lodges operated by the foundation.

The two lodges have a combined capacity of 114 units, and one of them is a level 3 facility, which means they provide housing and support for adults and seniors who can’t manage in their own homes.

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These workers—which include cooks, kitchen aides, health-care aides, and maintenance staff—had been working on an old contract that had expired at the end of 2022.

According to the July 2023 Bargaining Update, these workers will receive a total increase of 9% over the 3-year term of their contract. Here’s how it breaks down per year.

1 January 20233%
1 January 20243%
1 January 20253%

There were no changes to shift premiums nor the on-call premiu.

The new contract added the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to the list of paid holidays.

Under the new contract, workers will be entitled to 4 consecutive days of bereavement leave without loss of pay in the event that a close family member dies. Under the previous contract, workers were eligible for 3 consecutive days of leave. As well, workers attending a funeral as a pallbearer will be entitled to a full day of leave without loss in pay, up from just half a day in the previous agreement.

The employer has agreed to increase their contribution to health benefits, from $250 a year to $275 a year.

Here is how wages will increase between the end of the previous contract and the end of this new contract. Wages vary by classification (as well as steps, for health care aides).

Old contractNew contract
Health care aides$17.52–21.97$19.14–24.01
Maintenance workers$18.20–24.74$19.89–27.03
Food services cooks$22.89–25.42$25.01–27.78
Food services assistants$17.35–20.16$18.96–22.02
Kitchen/housekeeping aides$16.42–17.82$17.94–19.47

According to Joel French, a communications representative at CUPE Alberta, the ratification vote occurred on 4 July 2023. About a third of the CUPE members employed at these two lodges turned out for the vote. The results were unanimously in favour of ratification.

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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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