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Problems mount at Red Deer care home
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:52PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, January 24, 2013 4:34PM MST
While dozens of health care workers at a Red Deer senior’s care home prepare to walk off the job – Alberta Health Services has confirmed the operator has decided to stop providing publicly funded beds.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced nearly 130 licensed practical nurses, health care aides and other specialized staff working at Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge served strike notice to their employer, Symphony Seniors Living, on Tuesday morning.
The Ontario-based company responded to the notice, with a lockout notice.
AUPE President Guy Smith said the operator had been ‘cutting corners in seniors’ care’.
“Symphony told us they refuse to operate without a 30 to 40 percent profit,” Smith said. “That means spending less on caregivers and other essentials so they can reach those profits.
“Care needs to come first, that’s what these caregivers are fighting for.”
Aspen Ridge staff joined the AUPE in March, 2011.
Bargaining on the agreement in question started in September of that year – with both sides entering mediation in September, 2012.
Mediation wrapped up in November, and staff voted in favour of strike action on Jan. 2, 2013.
In addition to the job action, AHS confirmed Wednesday that Symphony Senior Living will be ending its contract to provide 49 publicly-funded beds.
Officials with AHS confirmed that the company has a year to move affected residents to other public beds.
The strike is scheduled to start Friday at 1 p.m. outside of the facility, AUPE said it will offer life and limb support to residents of the 154-bed seniors care facility in case of emergencies.
The employer will bring in replacement workers during the strike.