The B.C. Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is appalled to learn that Chartwell Retirement Residences, where the union represents 125 members at two of its long-term care facilities in B.C., provided executive bonuses for "100% customer satisfaction during the pandemic" while at the same time rejecting a proposal to provide frontline workers a living wage despite their tireless efforts to care for residents during the pandemic.
"It's unconscionable – but it's how the for-profit system works and why our union has been advocating for an end to for-profit seniors' care in B.C.," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "This is an egregious example of an inequitable distribution of profits at the expense of those doing the hard work on the ground, especially when you consider the billions in taxpayer dollars paid to for-profit companies to pay these worker's wages for care delivery."
Despite Chartwell's recommendation to reject the wage proposal, unitholders will still have a chance to vote on it at the company's annual meeting to be held on May 20, 2021. As a unitholder in Chartwell, the BCGEU has actively engaged with the company on board oversight of risk management and intends to vote in favour of the proposal to provide frontline workers a minimum living wage. The BCGEU became a unitholder in Chartwell in 2020 as part of its shareholder advocacy program to fight for workers' rights beyond the bargaining table.
Now in the third wave of the pandemic, Canada continues to hold the worst record among wealthy nations for COVID-19-related deaths in long-term care facilities. With thousands of those deaths occurring in for-profit facilities including at Chartwell, calls across Canada to abolish for-profit long-term care continue.
"Chartwell's actions prove once again that the profit motive is directly at odds with supporting the kind of care system that workers and seniors' deserve," Smith continued. "It's time for government to take action by building a non-profit, publicly delivered system in our province and across Canada."
Sign our petition to end for-profit seniors' care in B.C. here: www.seniorsdeservebetter.ca
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