The Health Care Workers Council (HCWC) added 120 new members as the result of successful organizing drives at two Alberta retirement homes.
Workers at Chartwell St. Albert Retirement Residence — who work as LPNs, aides, dietary technicians and more — received union certification in December after getting support for the organizing effort, according to the HCWC’s parent union, the United Steelworkers Canada (USW).
Recent changes to the province’s labour code, instituted by Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, allowed them to bypass a union election by collecting cards from more than 65 per cent of the unit. Workers at another Chartwell residence in Sherwood Park, Alta., did the same last week, said the union.
The new members will join Local 1-207, which now has 11 health-care units, said USW.
“The difference between these two drives and ones in the past is that here the organizers were health-care workers. Maybe they didn’t know as much about organizing as others, but they know the industry,” said Ray White, USW, Local 1-207 president.
Workers at both facilities intend to bargain to improve wages and working conditions, according to White, particularly focusing on concerns over scheduling and seniority.
Alberta law requires the two sides to meet within 30 days after the union certificate is issued, said the union.
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