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Workers on strike at retirement home on south side
Julia Parrish, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012 6:23PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, July 20, 2012 2:12PM MDT
Making it the second walkout in as many weeks, dozens of nurses, health care aides, kitchen and housekeeping staff took to picket lines early Tuesday, vocalizing their frustrations with what they call unfair wages and benefits.
The strike began with chanting, drumming and rallying together at the Revera Retirement Living facility in Riverbend, in an attempt to get a first contract.
"These people have been working in these types of conditions for so long, that they finally said enough is enough," Erez Raz with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) said Tuesday. "We will not put up with it anymore because we deserve to be treated fairly and equitably, just like anyone else within health services."
Many workers are striking for the first time, after recently unionizing in an attempt to get a contract with their Ontario-based employer.
Their complaints are echoed by striking workers at the Hardisty Care Centre in east Edmonton, which is a privately-run facility operated by a B.C.-based employer.
Hardisty workers have been off the job for nearly two weeks.
"We're working for the residents. We're working for those people. We want something done; we're going to go for it. We're not scared for anything," said Vicky Mulatris, who works as a nurse at the Revera Retirement Living facility.
The employer, Revera Inc., would not comment, but the company released a statement Tuesday stating:
We are disappointed that the AUPE has decided to take this course of action, as we believe our latest offer was fair, competitive and reasonable.
Our contingency plans are in place; we are providing regular updates to our residents and are committed to keeping them informed as the situation unfolds.
The retirement home houses approximately 145 seniors.
This job action could also be another in a series of walkouts, as the AUPE claims managers are watching other facilities who are at the bargaining table, before offering a contract.
"You might see that there's going to be a couple more coming up as well, that we are somewhat aware that it's happening," Raz said.
With files from Susan Amerongen