Vegreville senior care home offers 4 years of wage freezes

The workers at this location haven’t had a new contract in over 5 years.

Late last month, the Alberta Union of Public Employees published an update regarding contract negotiations for supportive housing workers in Vegreville.

The workers, who are employed at the St. Michael’s Vegreville Manor, haven’t had a new contract since their last one expired in March 2018, over 5 years ago.

According to AUPE, the bargaining teams for the workers and the employer met in March 2019, a year after expiry, to start negotiations, but never met again until just last month.

As part of the negotiations, the two parties agreed that 14 articles of the previous contract were still current. They also reached an agreement on 9 articles with only minor changes:

  • Definitions
  • Performance evaluation
  • Salaries
  • Shift premium
  • Weekend premium
  • Worker benefits
  • Sick leave
  • Temporary workers
  • Discipline and dismissal

One area where they couldn’t come to an agreement was on wage increases. Below is what the employer proposed for the 7-year contract, which the workers’ bargaining team called “bare-boned” that “falls short”.

2024Me too AHS provision

A ‘me too’ provision is an agreement to accept something negotiated at another table. This means the employer offers the same increase that AUPE workers employed with Alberta Health Services will receive, who will be in bargaining next year.

That’s at least 4% for 7 years, which comes to just over 50¢ an hour per year. That’s not even enough to cover the 6% inflation Alberta saw last year, let alone the inflation Alberta saw and will see during all 7 years of this contract.

St. Michael’s has also proposed a one-time, lump sum payment of 1% for all hours worked in 2021.

In their announcement, AUPE indicated that the maximum wage health care aides at this location are making is $21.98, and that was negotiated back in 2016.

AUPE anticipates that there is no way they’ll be able to make significant movement on such a low proposal and are preparing to go to mediation.

The next steps are to meet with the employer’s bargaining team again to discuss the conditions of the Essential Service Agreement, which will determine which services will have to keep running should there be any labour action and as part of the mediation process.

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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.

2 replies on “Vegreville senior care home offers 4 years of wage freezes”

Thanks Kim .
What a drastic difference compared to the Electrical contract you discussed a few days ago.

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