Cold Lake assisted living facility workers threaten to strike
Strike will commence this Friday at Points West Living facility if agreement is not reached
Staff at the Points West Living facility in Cold Lake are threatening to walk off the job this Friday if a contract with their employer isn't reached in time.
Points West Living is a supportive living community geared towards seniors. It allows for both assisted and independent living.
Mike Dempsey, the vice president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), said the employees of the facility aren't being given a fair offer for the work they do.
"I only have one word for it, madness," he said. "[There are] substandard wages and salary, benefits, and the workload is pretty much unmanageable," he said.
Dempsey said negotiations have stagnated since early September, when Points West Living put an offer on the table that "wasn't acceptable to [the workers]."
"Nobody wants to do job action, but when you have an employer that won't negotiate anymore, and this is after mediation, then you're left with little choice," he said.
As a result, Dempsey said it has affected those who live at Points West in Cold Lake.
"It's resulted in a tough life for the residents there," he said. He expects Points West Living to bring in a temporary agency should the employees strike.
Doug Mills is the CEO of Points West Living. He said he will not negotiate through the media, but in an emailed statement to CBC, said they have "activated [their] contingency plan" to ensure care is not stopped in the midst of a strike.
In this period of economic instability and job losses in Alberta, we remain committed to providing industry leading compensation and benefits.- Doug Mills
He also said the offer on the table is fair for those working in Cold Lake.
"Our offer to staff ... reflects starting wages higher than similar Designated Supportive Living providers and provides yearly wage increases that are aligned with the funding increase received from AHS," Mills wrote. "In this period of economic instability and job losses in Alberta, we remain committed to providing industry leading compensation and benefits."
Dempsey said the offer isn't enough to prevent a strike, and the AUPE will support the workers however it can. He expects to resolve the strike sooner rather than later.
"We've inevitably persevered," he said. "I have a high degree of confidence we will resolve this."