Members of the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) at Castleview Care Centre in Castlegar reached a new collective agreement with their employer in June, settling some issues regarding wages and contracting out but some are still frustrated with other aspects of benefits and providing care to residents.
The senior care facility’s parent company, Chantelle Management Ltd., is headquartered in Langley, B.C. and the company runs assisted living, long term care and retirement residences in California, Alberta, and British Columbia. The new agreement at the 61-bed Castleview facility covers about 70 union members including care aides, Licensed Professional Nurses, housekeeping, maintenance and dietary staff and expires September 2015.
“HEU members at the Castleview Care Centre recently ratified a new collective agreement that provides modest wage increases to staff [3.75 per cent over three years] and ensures that no contracting out will occur during the term of the agreement,” said Mike Old, HEU communications director. “We’ve renegotiated ‘no contracting out protection’ which will protect residents from disruption to their care that has resulted from contracting out and contract flipping in many other facilities.”
Old said many members continue to be frustrated by issues like workload.
“I know that they all wish they had more time to spend dealing with personal care need of the seniors in their care,” he said. “For instance, the care aides at Castleview also have to do the laundry so that takes away from their ability to provide dietary and health services.
“They used to be in the province wide agreement but the BC Liberals in 2009 changed the rules around funded long-term care facilities so some operators were able to apply to leave the province-wide master agreement. Some did it with the specific rationale of reducing wage and benefit costs. It’s very hard to win these things back.”
When reached for comment, Chantelle Group issued a press release noting staff at Castleview have an employer-matched RRSP plan for their retirement and agreed the new contract provides a three year period of stability for the residents.
“We take pride in delivering a high level of care 24/7 for all our residents,” said Sherry Watson, Castleview administrator in the release.
The HEU has a total of about 220 members in Castlegar with about 100 at the hospital and Talarico Place (covered by province-wide agreement expiring March 31, 2014) and 50 at Castlewood Village (covered by a multi-site agreement with other Golden Life facilities expiring March 31, 2015).
Old said the substitution of an RRSP plan for a defined benefit pension plan was “a big loss for workers, and a big saving for the company that operates Castleview.”