Edmonton care home workers to vote on contract

The new tentative 7-year agreements for over 150 workers in two employee groups include 5 years of wage freezes.

Earlier this week, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced that two of their bargaining teams had reached tentative agreements for workers at a care home in Edmonton.

According to the two statements they published, the bargaining teams had negotiated contracts for auxiliary nursing care workers and general support services workers at Venta Care Home.

These workers have been without a new contract since their previous ones expired in July 2017, nearly 6 years ago. (See here and here.)

Venta Care Home is a private 148-bed care home founded by the Birzgalis family. It’s still operated by the family.

When the previous contracts were ratified, there were about 150 workers covered by those contracts (100 ANC workers and 50 GSS).

The two AUPE bargaining teams started bargaining in November 2017; although there was a year-long pause between 2018 and 2019.

The tentative agreements are both for 7 years, expiring next year. Here’s the breakdown of the proposed wage increases for both groups.

Feb 20221.00%
Jan 20231.25%
Aug 20232.00%

So, with 5 years of wage freezes, a 1% increase last year, and a combined 3.25% increase this year, that’s a combined 4.25% over 7 years. That works out to an average increase of 0.61% per year.

Keep in mind that in July 2017, the consumer price index for Alberta was 130.4. This past March—the most recent data we have—Alberta’s CPI was 155.3, an increase of 24.9. That means that inflation over the last 6 years, inflation in Alberta has increased 19.1%.

Let’s look at this another way.

By the end of this contract term, for every $1000 these workers were making in July 2017, they’ll be making $1042.50.

On the other hand, for every $1000 they were spending in July 2017, those same purchases would cost $1191 today.

And we still have another year of inflation before the new contract expires (assuming it’s ratified).

In addition to these wage increases, workers in both groups would be entitled to a one-time lump sum payment of 1% for all hours worked in 2021, in recognition of work they did during the pandemic.

As well, GSS workers would get a one-time ratification bonus of $1400 to be paid in two installments this year.

Both groups of workers will now have the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation added to their list of named holidays.

Bargaining teams were able to negotiate improvements to RRSP plan contribution rates as well.


Venta would match contributions from workers in both employee groups.

As well, workers in both groups will now be getting a health spending account of $250 per calendar year.

ANC workers will vote on their tentative agreement on 17 May, and GSS workers will vote on 19 May.

As of last month, the United Nurses of Alberta were still bargaining with Venta. Their most recent collective agreement also expired in 2017 and covered 16 UNA members working at the facility.

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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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