About 1,100 members of the Hospital Employees' Union who work in long-term care facilities operated by Good Samaritan Canada have agreed to a new five-year collective agreement.
Good Samaritan operates 29 not-for-profit care homes in B.C. and Alberta including five in the Southern Interior, Village by the Station (Penticton), Mountainview Village (Kelowna), Heron Grove (Vernon), Hillside Village and Pioneer Lodge (Salmon Arm).
HEU secretary-business manager Meena Brisard says the agreement, which expires March 31, 2025 prevents contracting out, provides enhanced benefits and shift differentials and, for the first time, embeds hallmark protections to wages currently subsidized by the province.
"For the past few years Good Samaritan, like many other contracted long-term care providers across the province, has struggled with fully staffing their facilities," said Brisard.
"The renewed contracting out protections, improved benefits and enhanced shift differentials offer a good step forward when it comes to retaining skilled, longtime staff and recruiting new workers to look after the 900-plus residents in Good Samaritan's care."
She says the company has also agreed to maintain staff wage levels at the same rate as those in publicly-run long-term care homes.
Workers were without a contract for more than three-and-a-half years. Following more than two years of negotiations with Good Samaritan Canada, a successful strike vote and one day of targeted job action, Brisard says the bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement Nov. 3.