Edmonton senior care workers to vote on new contract

The new contract includes a 4.25% wage increase over 4 years.

Earlier this week, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced that the bargaining team for local 47 had reached a new deal for workers employed by Shepherd’s Care Foundation.

The faith-based non-profit organization provides care and accommodations for over 900 seniors living in the Edmonton area, including the town of Barrhead.

If approved, the 4-year agreement will apply to workers at 6 locations, including licensed practical nurses, health care aides, physiotherapy aides, recreation aides, and clerks.

These workers have been waiting for a new contract since their previous one expired in September 2020, over 2.5 years ago.

Most workers under this proposed contract would be set to receive the following wage increases over the length of the contract.

1 Mar 20231.25%
1 Oct 20232.00%

That comes to a total of 4.25%, which works out to about 1.06% per year.

Keep in mind that between inflation for 2022 was 6% in Alberta. That means that this proposed increase wasn’t enough to cover the increase in inflation for last year, let alone the increase for all 4 years.

As well, general support services workers in Barrhead are set to receive only 2 wage increases: 1.25% retroactive to this past March and another 2% this upcoming October.

All home care attendants will also receive an additional 50¢ for each grid step aas of 1 April 2022 and again on 1 April 2023.

When the employer’s bargaining team began negotiations, they proposed a single 2% increase for the entire life of the contract: 1% on ratification and another 1% in October of next year. They wanted wage freezes in 2020, 2021, and 2020.

The AUPE bargaining team had originally proposed increases that would’ve been much more beneficial: 1% in 2020, 3% in 2021, 7% in 2022, and an increase this October that matches inflation.

If ratified, workers will also receive a one-time 1% lump sum payment for all hours worked in 2021.

Other improvements in the tentative agreement include an increase of $100 to the health spending account, boosting it to $900, and adding the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation as a general paid holiday.

Ratification voting will begin tomorrow and will end on 6 June. Voting will be online and workers should receive an email with the link they’ll need for voting.

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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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