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BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with Vancouver Island seniors' care facility

March 29, 2021

BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with Vancouver Island seniors' care facility

After several months of unsuccessful negotiations, as well as a unanimous vote to strike if a deal could not be reached, B.C. Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) members at Nanaimo Seniors Village have voted by a strong majority to ratify their new collective agreement.

"For too long, low wages and precarious working conditions in for-profit seniors' care have taken a toll on workers, and created care deficiencies for seniors," says Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "If the pandemic has a silver lining, it added new urgency around recognizing and correcting these chronic issues, and this new collective agreement takes a step in this direction." 

The agreement is for a 27-month term from July 20, 2019 to October 31, 2021 and includes: significant wage increases; a process to address workload concerns; improved sick leave, vacation and retirement savings; improved human rights, harassment and bullying protections and more.

Nanaimo Seniors Village is one of nine Retirement Concepts worksites represented by the BCGEU – all of which have long-standing problems such as chronic under-staffing, high rates of staff burnout and injury and a crisis in recruitment and retention. For this reason, the union pursued and achieved a declaration from the Labour Relations Board that these nine sites are under a common employer. In future the sites will bargain together at a common table which will better position members and their union to address these issues.

"Of the Retirement Concepts worksites the BCGEU represents, Nanaimo Seniors Village has lagged behind the others in terms of wages, health and welfare benefits and even with the stability of their management," Smith continued. "While we are pleased with where this new contract landed, we look forward to achieving more in the next round of bargaining at a common table with the other sites."

The BCGEU represents 84 members at Nanaimo Seniors Village who work as home support workers, activity aides, cooks, food service attendants, housekeepers, receptionists, and nurses.

The BCGEU is one of the largest and fastest growing unions in B.C. with over 80,000 members working in virtually every community and economic sector in the province.

For more information contact: BCGEU Communications, [email protected]