Negotiations between staff and management at Points West Living in Cold Lake have been going on for over a year, and things might come to a head on Thursday, September 22nd.
A press release from the facility says AUPE and the staff they represent have decided to hold a strike vote on that day. Management says they have the assistance of a Disputes Inquiry Board – a neutral third-party appointed by government – to join the negotiation process. “We continue to bargain in good faith with AUPE and the Cold Lake staff and remain hopeful of reaching an agreement,” a press release from Points West reads. “Our offer includes pay rates which are among the highest in Continuing Care in Alberta and provides a competitive benefits program.”
AUPE however, begs to differ. An update on negotiations sent to members on the 12th reads, “On Sept. 1, the employer stated, “in collective bargaining there is a beginning and an end,” and went on to say, “this is the end.” In other words, they presented their final offer, with no room for negotiating because the employer tabled two monetary offers and refused to change the second monetary offer.
“[The] bargaining committee advised the employer their offer was unacceptable, would not be ratified by the membership and failed to consider the most recent comparable settlements like Extendicare (2015 – 2.25%/ 2016 – 2.25%/ 2017 – AHS “me too”) or Choices in Community Living (CICL) (2015 – 2.0%/ 2016 – 2.0%/ 2017 – 2.0%).
“As a result, the Employer requested that the mediator “write out,” in recognition that mediation has reached an impasse (“the end”). The mediator wrote out on Sept. 6, beginning a formal cooling off period of two weeks (14 days) after which we will be able to conduct a strike vote in the third week of September.”
Should the union vote to strike, they would have to provide 72 hours notice in advance. Management says they have a contingency plan in place should that happen. “Our contingency plan has been vetted by Alberta Health Services and will ensure the care and safety of residents is maintained without interruption.”