Staff at 2nd Edmonton seniors home goes on strike

Workers at a second seniors home in Edmonton walked off the job this morning.
About 80 workers at Revera Riverbend Retirement Living Workers in southwest Edmonton walked off the job Tuesday morning over wages. (Andrea Huncar/CBC)

Workers at a second seniors home in Edmonton walked off the job this morning.

"This is the only way out for us," said Hiwot Habteab, a dietary aide who has worked at the home for four years.

"We're working very hard and we really care about the residents and we give really quality service," she said. "But...we're not paid equally like others and we're understaffed so we can't give what quality care should be."

About 80 licensed practical nurses, health-care aides and support staff are on strike at the Revera Riverbend Retirement Residence in southwest Edmonton.

"These are beautiful people and I'm behind them 100 per cent," said resident Sandy Osbaldeston.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says the nurses make 14 per cent less than their counterparts, while health care aides make 11 per cent less and support staff 30 per cent less. 

Staff were offered one per cent for three years, said AUPE secretary treasurer Bill Dechant.

The union offered to be ready for negotiations, but never got a call, he said.

"Private operators seem to think they can get away with what they want," Dechant said.

The home is run by a private corporation with more than 250 properties across Canada and the United States.

"We believe our latest offer was fair, competitive and reasonable," said Revera spokesperson Sandra Vlaar Ingram. "We have and are prepared to continue to bargain in good faith."

About 100 LPNs and nursing aides walked off the job two weeks ago at the Hardisty Care Centre, operated by a different company, in east Edmonton.