Red Deer – Seniors care workers held a lunchtime information picket at Bethany Care Society’s Red Deer facility last week to protest their employer’s proposal to extensively roll back their compensation and working conditions.
“These kinds of cutbacks threaten the quality of care for seniors who depend on the relationships they have built with long-serving employees,” said AUPE Vice President Carrie-Lynn Rusznak. “We believe that a fair agreement that can attract and retain quality staff is a win-win for workers, residents and their families.”
Bethany employees and other supporters conducted an information picket and handed out hotdogs and refreshments at the Red Deer facility, located at 99 College Circle from 11am to 1pm on Wednesday Oct. 29.
Bethany Care Society is one of western Canada’s largest long-term care and supportive living providers. AUPE represents approximately 1,000 staff at six Bethany facilities in central and southern Alberta.
AUPE is currently in negotiations with the society, seeking standardized contracts that will establish equal terms and conditions for Bethany employees. “Bethany’s compensation is already below industry standards and further rollbacks will hurt staff and residents” said Rusznak.
Bethany Care Society has confirmed to the union that all of the monetary provisions they are seeking to rollback are funded by Alberta Health Services. “They have provided no rationale for this move other than ‘because we can,” said Rusznak. “Holding back public funding intended for frontline workers is not the Alberta way.”
“This move is an example of the systemic lack of accountability in seniors care that the Auditor General spoke out about earlier this month,” said Rusznak. “Bethany must be held accountable for how rollbacks affecting front line health workers will also jeopardize the quality care that Alberta seniors deserve.”