BCGEU workers at Pine Acres Home locked out by Westbank First Nation

VANCOUVER, July 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Workers at Pine Acres Home were locked out Monday afternoon by their employer, Westbank First Nation. A mediator was appointed to the labour dispute by the Labour Relations Board, but last Thursday's mediation was unsuccessful.

When negotiations resumed between the BCGEU and Pine Acres on June 20, the employer refused to remove their sweeping concessions. Their demands included a two-tier wage structure for new employees; $4/hour wage cut; drastic cuts to vacation, sick leave, and benefits; and basic employment standards coverage for issues relating to hours of work.

The BCGEU was not prepared to discuss concessions without the employer agreeing to remove these demands. Workers at Pine Acres are now entering their fourth year without a wage increase and deserve improved conditions. The union's proposals have been reasonable and the union continues to be prepared to negotiate an agreement.

During the lockout, all LPNs and care aides will remain on the job, as essential service levels have been established. Staff members involved with laundry, housekeeping, kitchen, dietary, recreation and reception, however, are all locked out.

"This is not only about our jobs, it is about our families, many of whom live and work at Pine Acres Home," says Bonnie McEwan, BCGEU bargaining committee and Westbank First Nation member. "This is about protecting what we have created and built for Elders and seniors, we are proud of the care we provide and we cannot afford to have that change for ourselves or for our community."

The BCGEU members held a strike vote last week and gave their bargaining committee a strong clear mandate with a 100 per cent strike vote. The workers on the picket line and inside providing essential services are united and determined to reach a fair and reasonable deal with their employer.

Community support is pouring in and many members of the community are on the line supporting the workers and standing up to protect Pine Acres Home and the quality seniors healthcare being provided.

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information:

Holly Reid, BCGEU Communications (604) 291-9611 or (604) 785-0124.

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B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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