Prairie Post (West Edition)

AUPE members stage first rally in Taber; more to follow in other communitie­s

- ALBERTA NEWSPAPER GROUP

Front-line care workers at Good Samaritan Society facilities across Alberta are launching a fight back against what they call unfair and disrespect­ful behaviour by their employer.

“Nearly 1,600 members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have been waiting almost five years to negotiate a collective agreement with the Good Samaritan Society, but the employer keeps stalling,” said Guy Smith, president of the union which represents 95,000 workers, in a press release. “It seems a mixture of incompeten­ce and malice on behalf of the employer, but it’s the front-line workers and the residents who suffer.”

AUPE members and supporters held an informatio­n picket and rally at the Good Samaritan Society’s Linden View facility on June 7. Smith and AUPE vice-presidents Susan Slade and Darren Graham were in attendance.

“These members have seen no wage increases for five years, which is especially painful with today’s soaring inflation rates. Their concerns over workplace conditions and the level of care provided to residents have been ignored,” said Smith. “To continue to stall on bargaining now, after more than two years of these workers putting their health and lives on the line during the pandemic, is insulting. It’s a shameful way to behave for an organizati­on that claims to be faithbased.”

A total of 17 Good Samaritan sites are affected by the delay in bargaining. Without progress, AUPE says more informatio­n pickets and rallies can be expected.

Affected communitie­s include Cardston, Edmonton, Evansburg, Lethbridge, Magrath, Raymond, Rocky Mountain House, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Taber and Wetaskiwin.

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