Employer seeks massive concessions and jeopardizes seniors' care
VANCOUVER, June 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Seventy-seven workers at the Pine Acres Home for seniors in Westbank were given lockout notice this morning. The workers will be locked out by their employer on Monday morning. Pine Acres is home to 63 seniors and elders.
The locked out workers are members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union and many have worked at Pine Acres Home for decades. Westbank First Nation, the operator of Pine Acres Home, is seeking sweeping concessions from the workers including a $4 an hour wage cut, large reductions to vacation time, sick time, cuts to benefits and the elimination of a pension for new hires.
"These experienced and dedicated workers provide quality care. Instead of a fair and reasonable offer from the employer they are being told to accept massive cuts to their salaries and benefits," says Darryl Walker, president of the BCGEU. "This also creates enormous instability for the seniors and elders and their families. Stability and continuity of care is crucial to seniors' well-being."
Essential service levels have been established and all LPN's and care aides will remain on the job. But staff involved with laundry, housekeeping, kitchen, dietary and reception will all be locked out.
"It is hard to imagine how this care home can continue to operate in a safe manner with so many of its workers forced off the job by this lockout. The Westbank First Nation needs to give serious consideration to the potential for risk and disease because of the lockout. They need to put the care of these seniors first and foremost. And they need to withdraw this lockout notice and return to the bargaining table."
The BCGEU believes there are many efficiencies at Pine Acres that have not been explored. These efficiencies would provide better care for the seniors and elders who call Pine Acres home and be more than sufficient to fund a fair and reasonable settlement with the workers.
For further information:
Holly Reid, BCGEU Communications (604) 291-9611 or (604) 785-0124.
Or Evan Stewart BCGEU Communications (604) 220-3095.