VANCOUVER, July 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The BCGEU is calling on the government
to justify the use of public funds at a Kelowna seniors' facility that
continues to flip contracts to reduce costs and drive down wages. In a
letter sent to Mike de Jong, BC's Minister of Health; and Robert
Halpenny, President and CEO, Interior Health Authority, BCGEU voiced
its concerns over provincial government funding of for profit private
healthcare. These concerns were raised on the same day that direct care
services for seniors at Spring Valley seniors' home, a residential care
facility owned by Park Place Seniors Living in Kelowna, is being handed
over to a new contractor.
Park Place Seniors Living -- Spring Valley's owner/operator -- chose to
terminate the contract with its existing care provider and contract
with another company to provide care. This is the second time Park
Place has enabled full contracting out of care services in the past
Advocare Health Services, a subcontractor at Spring Valley, issued lay
off notice to 130 health care aides and health care assistants in May.
The approximately 90 workers who have been hired back under the new
contractor will be working for up to $3 an hour less to perform the
same work. Many have worked at the facility for decades.
Spring Valley residents will now be faced with a lack of continuity of
care, which research has indicated leads to poor quality care for
seniors. "Putting profits ahead of seniors care just isn't good enough.
Our seniors deserve better," says BCGEU President Darryl Walker. "On
behalf of our 65,000 members I would like to send a message of
appreciation to the workers who are out of their jobs today who are
facing a difficult challenge in balancing their desire to provide
quality care for seniors with the pressure of losing their job and
having to choose to work for less."
"We are concerned because it is another attempt by an employer to drive
down the wages of health care workers, as a result of Bill 29," says
Darryl Walker. "This also becomes a gender issue, as most of the
workers impacted are women."
The passage of Bill 29 in 2002 allowed care facilities to contract out
care and support services to reduce costs. The Supreme Court of Canada
struck down key parts of Bill 29 in 2007, but it did not restore
contracting-out protections to health care workers.
"We owe B.C. seniors quality care. We also owe workers a decent standard
of living. This means retaining trained and knowledgeable care aides in
seniors' care facilities," says Walker. The BCGEU is calling on the BC
government to safeguard existing, dedicated and experienced employees
any time a health care contract is retendered. In addition BCGEU would
like the BC government to investigate the current funding directed to
Park Place Seniors Living at Spring Valley and ensure that it is being
used in the best public interest and to protect standards of care for
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Holly Reid, BCGEU Communications, 604-785-0124, firstname.lastname@example.org