Twenty or so members of the Syndicat québécois des employées et employés de service (FTQ) are occupying Chartwell's offices to demand what it calls "negotiation meetings within a reasonable time frame."
Although eight Chartwell establishments are on strike, the employer refuses to participate in centralized negotiations and, in some cases, negotiation meetings are scheduled for July 19, then August, said the union.
"We are ready to negotiate. Here and now in Chartwell's offices. We can settle everything today. Our demand is simple: A minimum of$15 an hour. Chartwell, the largest player in the seniors' residence sector, with a stock market value of $2.7 billion, boasts about its 'rewarding' workplaces. We are taking it at its word and asking it to reward its employees with decent salaries," said Danielle Legault, SQEES-FTQ vice-president of communications and regional affairs.
The SQEES-FTQ spearheaded a strike movement in the private seniors' residence sector, with 30 establishments now on strike. Of these, eight belong to Chartwell, said the union: Villa Chicoutimi, Villa du Saguenay, Villa Jonquière, Résidence L'Ermitage, Domaine du Château de Bordeaux, Manoir et Cours de l'Atrium, Habitations Faubourg Giffard, Manoir Archer and Résidence Notre-Dame Victoriaville. Other Chartwell establishments are in the process of negotiating a new collective agreement.
The SQEES-FTQ represents 25 000 members throughout Quebec, most of them in the health and social services sector. It is affiliated with the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, which has more than 600 000 members.