An Alberta union has created an ad campaign designed to support long-term care workers on strike around the province.
"We all pay taxes for senior’s health care, and that’s right and good, but a few private companies take millions of that seniors money and just pocket it, and that’s not right, we need to stop them," says the strongly-worded advertisement produced by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
AUPE union officials hope the "Stop the Rip-off" campaign will bolster public support for workers who have been locked out of their jobs.
In Calgary, roughly 90 health care workers and support staff have been locked out at Monterey Place, a seniors long-term care facility in Calgary’s northeast, for three weeks.
AUPE president Guy Smith says for-profit businesses, like Monterey Place, aren't paying its employees a fair wage.
"We've been very overwhelmed by the amount of public support we've got, because I think Albertans don't mind paying their taxes as long as they know it's going to where it's supposed to go, but they don't like being ripped off," he said.
The provincial government provides funding, on a per-bed basis, for seniors' facilities like Monterey Place.
Smith says that funding is not being passed on to the employees in fair wages.
Calls to the owners of Monterey Place and to Alberta Health Services have not been returned.
Picketers help elderly woman back to facility
A union official says picketers helped avert a potential crisis.
Glen Scott says people on the picket line Wednesday afternoon saw a resident leave the facility.
He says this person has dementia and shouldn't have been able to leave the ward — let alone the grounds.
"This is a patient that has dementia and is in a locked unit, and they need to be in a locked unit because they are not even safe inside the building," said Scott. "And this person was able to not only get out of a locked unit, they were actually able to walk out the front of the building ... then by security and make it out on to the streets."
Scott says his members followed the elderly woman for a couple of blocks before helping her return to the facility.
Security at Monterey Place confirms there was an incident but will only say it is now under investigation.