Extended weekend talks failed following a temporary postponement of the lockout and strike agreed to Friday, January 25, 2013. Symphony Senior Living conceded on almost every term, including significant wage increases, but refuses to compromise quality care and safety for vulnerable seniors.
RED DEER, AB, Jan. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - As a result of continuous good faith negotiations, only after the employer proposed a significant movement on the wage issue, the AUPE agreed to a temporary postponement of a strike and lockout originally planned for this past Friday, January 25, 2013. Negotiations continued throughout the weekend, as Symphony Senior Living continued a good faith, flexible approach to the discussions, agreeing to significant wage increases, generous severance plans, minimal changes to employee benefits, seniority preferences, and many more pro-employee terms.
Only one article of the collective bargaining agreement remained unresolved after arduous weekend talks and consistent concessions made by Symphony Senior Living. The company's steadfast commitment to quality care and quality staff remains and is not up for negotiation. The unresolved matter centers on the company's restriction to remove a worker for non-cause reasons such as lack of empathy, passion or dedication to seniors. "Sometimes employees are hired only to discover the job is a bad fit. This happens in any business. Anyone can give a bath, a pill or comb your hair; not everyone can make you feel like a valuable person and in a life worth living. Residents can be easily intimidated and scared, and the quality of life severely changed, if they are subjected to staff that are not passionate and dedicated to the position," states Lisa Brush, Symphony's CEO and veteran in the senior living industry.
In the event of a termination without cause, the company offered a generous severance package of 3 months pay in the first year, and then one month for each year of service thereafter. This was offered in continuing good faith and to send the message that they care for employees even when a job doesn't work out.
The AUPE refused to negotiate on this quality-dependent term, despite its President, Guy Smith, stating "Care needs to come first. That's what these caregivers are fighting for." Negotiations failed to produce a mutually agreeable outcome based on this one remaining item and the strike and lockout will continue tomorrow, January 28, 2013 at 1pm.
"The union is unable to give on this point, as it is part of their philosophy of protecting workers at any cost; even when the cost is an elderly resident. We have done everything we can and regret the union's unwavering position on this item even though we've offered generous severance. We remain fully prepared for the strike," states Brush.
Symphony's purpose is to develop, acquire and manage beautiful senior living communities in North America, where we deliver compassionate dignified care and a full spectrum of supportive services.
SOURCE: Symphony Senior Living
For further information: