Negotiations at Points West Living Cold Lake between management and staff have deteriorated to the point of a lockout today.
Workers have taken to picket lines in spite of minus 30 temperatures. “This company has tried to blame this situation on unreasonable, greedy workers, but in fact these workers’ main concerns are about inadequate training for staff, arbitrary scheduling, and especially understaffing that puts stress on workers and residents alike,” said AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey in a press release on the situation.
“Management seems to think a small wage increase will be a sufficient resolution, even though they have not responded in any meaningful way to our biggest concerns about quality of care, despite years of empty promises to act on these pressing issues.”
However, Points West thinks there’s more to it than that. The company says that they had agreed last night to participate in a voluntary interest arbitration process, as suggested by the Provincial Government. Points West says that the union members voted no to the proposal, resulting in today’s events.
A lockout nearly occurred back in September, but the province intervened, establishing a Disputes Inquiry Board to mediate the negotiations.