What looked much like a picket line of health care workers outside Christenson Village on Dec. 11 was actually a “vigil” according to the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU).
“The action undertaken by HEU members at Christenson Village was informational only — to let the community know that they are currently attempting to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement with Good Samaritan Society. They also wanted to provide a show of support for their bargaining team,” said Patty Gibson, HEU communications officer, adding the “vigil” took place between 1 and 4 p.m. last Tuesday.
“There are about 140 staff at Christenson Village who are covered by these contract negotiations. They include care aides and licensed practical nurses, clerical workers, dietary, laundry and housekeeping staff and other support services.”
The workers have been without a contract since March of this year.
Bargaining for a new collective agreement began in April, but negotiations broke down on Oct. 19, according to Gibson.
“Members’ key priorities in these negotiations are improved sick leave, health and safety language and protections against contracting out their work,” she noted.
Staff at Christenson Village work for the Good Samaritan Society, which is the organization responsible for the care home.
Good Samaritan did not return phone calls from Coast Reporter by press time.
Currently the HEU is getting ready for mediation with the employer.
“The labour board mediator will be assisting both parties to come to a tentative agreement. We’ll see what happens,” Gibson said.