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Tentative deal reached with B.C. long-term care workers

7 Good Samaritan Canada sites include Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton
Hospital Employees Union members from Vernon’s Heron Grove hosted a two-hour rally outside the facility Wednesday, Sept. 27. Staff at Heron Grove and six other facilities owned and operated by the Good Samaritan Canada Society hosted rallies as they try to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. (Roger Knox - Black Press)

Following strikes and five days of mediation, a tentative deal has been reached with some regional long-term care workers.

The Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) came to a possible agreement with Good Samaritan Canada late on Friday, Nov. 3 for a renewed five-year collective agreement covering nearly 1,100 health care workers at seven long-term care facilities across B.C.

The seven Good Samaritan Canada sites include Heron Grove in Vernon, Pioneer Village and Hillside Lodge in Salmon Arm and Village By The Station in Penticton.

The other three sites are Victoria Heights in New Westminster, Delta View in Delta and Christenson Village in Gibsons. Workers held strike rallies in September and October.

READ MORE: Okanagan care facilities rally outside in contract dispute

HEU secretary-business manager Meena Brisard says the contract includes significant compensation improvements and job security guarantees that should contribute to regular, fully-staffed facilities that better support the hundreds of seniors in Good Samaritan’s care.

“Members were clear they wanted a fair compensation package that would support better working conditions and better care for seniors,” said Brisard. “And thanks to the members’ solidarity and support, and the successful strike actions in October, there now is a tentative agreement with Good Samaritan Canada that goes a long way to deliver on those demands.

“It was a long tough week for HEU’s representatives at the bargaining table, and we’re grateful for the skilled work of the mediator,” said Brisard. “Now, members from all seven Good Samaritan facilities will review the tentative agreement and put it to a vote later this month.”

Workers at the seven Good Samaritan Canada sites across B.C. have been without a contract for over three-and-a-half years.

Following job action at two Good Samaritan Canada long-term care locations on Oct. 20, both sides agreed to five days of talks, starting Oct. 30 with mediator Amanda Rogers. Details on the tentative deal are being provided to members in advance of votes later in November.

“The progress HEU members made with this employer should improve staff recruitment and retention at these facilities,” said Brisard. “But there is still an urgent need for the government to fulfil its 2020 election promise to restore standard wages, benefits and working conditions in seniors’ care that were dismantled by the previous BC Liberal government.”

HEU represents more than 60,000 health care workers across B.C., including about 28,000 working directly with seniors in long-term care and other care settings.

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Jennifer Smith

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