Workers at Bay St. George Long Term Care to protest staffing shortages and extreme mandatory overtime

creynolds News Release

Updated October 29, 2019

Stephenville Crossing, NL – Workers at the Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre in Stephenville Crossing will hold a demonstration on Thursday to voice their concerns about extreme mandatory overtime and the provincial government’s failure to address staffing shortages.

Both the union and employer have asked the province to increase training opportunities through the College of North Atlantic. However, the Stephenville facility was not included when the program for licensed practical nurses (LPN) began this fall.

“We have been making our case to representatives of government for more training programs for a long period of time,” says Donna Ryan, CUPE national representative. “The situation has become critical and our members need the government to step up.”

WHEN: Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 12 p.m.

WHERE: Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre, Old Cove Loop, Stephenville Crossing

SPEAKERS: CUPE 4935 President Theresa Gillam and CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier

As a result of staffing shortages, extreme mandatory overtime is being forced on staff. Staff have been unable to get time off and many are suffering stress and exhaustion from this situation that has been going on for almost two years.

“We are experiencing a shortage of LPN and PCA staff and this has seriously impacted both staff and residents,” says CUPE 4935 President Theresa Gillam. “We’re hearing that on every shift, someone is being mandated to work 16 and 20 hour shifts. On several occasions as many as six staff members were mandated to work overtime. Enough is enough.”

“Immediate action is needed by the health authority and provincial government to increase staffing levels to provide the care needed by our residents,” says CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier. “The risk to both staff and residents is unacceptable.”

News Coverage

Western Health says it’s ‘doing what it can’ to help long-term care employees

Western Health working to address LPN shortage in Stephenville Crossing

Caregivers protest mandated overtime at Bay St. George Long Term Care Centre

Long-term care workers protest in Stephenville Crossing

Bay St. George man speaks out against under-staffing at long-term care home

 

Keep laundry services in-house

Keep laundry services in-house: CUPE 879

creynolds Fact Sheet

We recently learned that Eastern Health plans to move the bulk of laundry services from St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge. This move will result in a loss of quality control, as well as several good jobs.

This comes as a surprise since Eastern Health has repeatedly said that they have had no problems with the current service and efficiency of the work being done by the in-house staff. They give our members high praise on the work they do.

  • Download a copy of this flyer

Across the country, we have seen employers consolidate and contract-out laundry services from nursing homes and hospitals, where they claim that there will be no negative impact on the services provided. In our experience, as the largest union in Canada, this has not been true. Any loss of laundry services performed by in-house staff always has a negative impact.

Is it worth the human cost?

We have been informed that our nursing homes will lose approximately eight full-time positions. In-house laundry services have been part of these nursing homes for decades and it provides decent jobs to a traditionally female workforce.

Eliminating or reducing the salaries of eight staff from Eastern Health’s budget ledger may look good on paper, but the impact of the job loss will be huge to their families and the communities in which they pay taxes and spending what’s left of their hard-earned pay supporting local businesses.

Is it really worth the health and safety risk?

As far as cleaning services are concerned – it matters who does it.

The work done by our members who perform appropriate cleaning duties and work in infection control is crucial in efforts to control superbugs. These workers can put in extra loads as needed during an outbreak or wash items multiple times. They have also been able to find personal items in the laundry, such as hearing aids or teeth, that accidentally get mixed up with the bedding. All this may be lost with this reduction to our in-house laundry department. These facilities rely on our current laundry workers to deliver this quality service in order to provide top-quality resident care.

Instead, residents at St. Pat’s and Glenbrook will be dependent on laundry being trucked to another site and coming back in the same truck the soiled or infected laundry was delivered. Never mind the possible delays in delivery during winter months.

Localized cleaning performed by trained laundry workers is vital. In-house staff know the residents, when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease, and when a ward is shutdown. These workers know when and how to follow the additional steps required for laundry cleaning when there is an outbreak, making the nursing home healthier and safer for everyone.

Pandemic influenza; superbugs such as staphylococcus aureus), vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus; cytotoxic drugs, needlestick injuries… those are just a few of the issues in-house staff will have knowledge of in real-time.

Workers in another facility will not be able to control or carry out the laundry practices needed as well as in-house staff can, when fighting infectious diseases and preventing further outbreaks.

Does Eastern Health have a new strategy in place to deal with moving and properly cleaning laundry from a nursing home experiencing an outbreak? The potential threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak demands that employers work with unions to ensure a comprehensive prevention strategy is in place, for the protection of residents and staff.

Many questions remain

Eastern Health has not addressed all our questions of transportation costs, pick-up and delivery schedules, impacts on workloads of remaining employees, health and safety impacts on remaining workers. The information they have provided is vague at best.

We are asking Eastern Health to provide us with a full value analysis, including safety assessment, before the make a final decision to remove these services from our nursing homes.

To continue to provide the healthiest and safest services for residents and staff, laundry must remain in-house at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge.

A message from the members of CUPE Local 879

  • Download a copy of this flyer
keep laundry services in-house

Workers at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge to hold info picket September 30 about job cuts

creynolds News Release

ST. JOHN’S – Workers at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and Glenbrook Lodge, members of CUPE 879, recently learned that Eastern Health plans to move the bulk of laundry away from their facilities and cut approximately eight jobs. However, there are many unanswered questions. The nursing home workers are going public with how it feels to lose their jobs without a full explanation from Eastern Health.

Members of CUPE 879 will hold an information picket on Monday, September 30 at 12 p.m. at 146 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John’s.

“The impact of these job loss will be huge to their families and the communities in which they pay taxes, provide food and shelter to their families and spending what’s left of their hard-earned pay supporting local businesses,” says Sharon Purcell, president of CUPE 879.

Localized cleaning performed by trained laundry workers is vital. In-house staff know the residents, when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease, and when a ward is shutdown. These workers know when and how to follow the additional steps required for laundry cleaning when there is an outbreak, making the nursing home healthier and safer for everyone.

Members of the CUPE 879 are hoping to get more answers from Eastern Health and to keep laundry services in-house.

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For more information, please contact:

Sharon Purcell
CUPE 879 President
709-725-1052

John Hall
CUPE National Representative
709- 753-0732 (office)
250-320-3500 (cell)

Colleen Reynolds
CUPE Atlantic Communications
902-809-2253 (cell)

CUPE 1761 achieves new contract with the Town of Placentia

creynolds Collective Bargaining, News Release

Town of Placentia – Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1761, municipal workers with the Town of Placentia, have finalized a new collective agreement with their employer today.

The union successfully pushed back the zero wage increase offered by the town. The new contract includes wage increases and other improvements.

“Our members are proud to deliver quality public services,” says Gerry Quilty, president of CUPE 1761. “We are an integral part of the community here, and we are pleased we were able to reach a deal and put an end to this difficult round of bargaining.”

Today’s agreement concludes the longest round of bargaining in the local’s history. After 14 months of disappointing negotiations, the workers went on strike July 16, 2019. They will return to work tomorrow.

The new contract will take effect April 1, 2018 and will expire in four years.

“We would sincerely like to thank all the union members that came out to support us. The overwhelming solidarity shown to us was greatly appreciated,” says Quilty. “We’d also like to thank residents and our community for their patience and support.”

CUPE 1761 represents 15 municipal workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

Sherry Hillier radio VOCM

Listen to the radio ad: A Labour Day message from CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier

creynolds Article

Sherry Hillier radio VOCMIn the lead up to Labour Day, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador will be running a radio ad on stations across the province.

The ad will run for four days, from August 30 to September 2, 2019.

Also, here’s a list of Labour Day events taking place across the province: nlfl.nf.ca/2019/08/labour-day-events-2019 

Listen to the ad

Placentia municipal workers are ready for a fair deal to get back to work

creynolds News Release

Members of CUPE Local 1761, representing municipal workers at the Town of Placentia, are ready for a fair deal that saves the Town money and gets them back on the job, providing valued public services to their community.

On Tuesday, August 13, CUPE attempted to end the ongoing job action by offering changes to scheduling language that would have saved the Town tens of thousands of dollars over the term of a new agreement. In turn, CUPE proposed a highly reasonable wage increase averaging 40 cents per hour, representing a 1.5 per cent increase, which would still put members below the forecasted cost of living in Newfoundland and Labrador – an offer the workers were willing to make to end the job dispute.

The dedicated and hardworking members of Local 1761 were disappointed, barely two hours later, when the Town posted a bulletin on Facebook claiming the Town could not
afford a 2 per cent increase – something CUPE is no longer asking for. The Town has also claimed that Placentia employees make more than municipal workers in other towns across Newfoundland, but consistently refuses to provide details on how they come to that conclusion.

“It’s frustrating to see the mayor peddling misinformation about our bargaining proposals and ignoring the compromises that our members have made in order to reach a deal,”
said Gerry Quilty, President of CUPE Local 1761. “The reality is, any further wage reductions are going to leave our members worse off tomorrow than they are today, which is unfair to the workers, and means less money being spent here in the local economy.”

Quilty said if the mayor won’t accept CUPE’s reasonable offer, then he should at least table a counter offer, rather than mislead the public and frustrate negotiations by spreading false information.

“It’s time for the mayor to shelf the sky-is-falling rhetoric and do what other mayors around our beautiful province have done, which is make a deal that respects the work and the value that town employees provide for their communities,” said Quilty. “We’re ready to meet tomorrow to get a deal done.”

Placentia’s mayor needs to focus less on grandstanding, more on finalizing new contract

creynolds News Release

Town of Placentia, NL – Placentia’s mayor needs to focus his energy on finalizing a new contract with employees – not on rhetoric, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing the town’s fifteen municipal workers.

“We’re disappointed with the mayor’s comments made today, especially the day before we have a meeting set with the employer and the conciliation officer to get back to negotiations,” says CUPE 1761 President Gerry Quilty. “What purpose does it serve? Let’s get back to the table and get this contract done.”

“The mayor’s actions today have left us with no choice but to address his inaccuracies when we would rather be at the bargaining table,” says Mark Cunningham, CUPE national representative. “Inflating numbers to mislead town residents is just bad practice.”

“Through the conciliation officer, we are asking the town council to provide the calculations they used in the mayor’s statement,” says Cunningham. “We’ve closely examined the town budgets and expenses, past collective agreements, and the province’s inflation predictions. The numbers simply don’t add up and are far different from what we’ve been able to verify.”

“Using scare tactics and words like a ‘million dollars’ when speaking to residents is not only irresponsible, it’s simply untrue,” says Cunningham. “We want residents to know that our members are not asking for a raise, only an increase that keeps up with the cost of living.”

“The direct wage increases our members are asking for will cost approximately $15,000 per year, for all 15 workers combined. We think that’s reasonable and fair,” says Cunningham. “Yes, there are also benefits and pensions to consider, but the employer’s numbers are highly overstated.”

“We think the mayor is intentionally misleading the public. Residents, workers and our community deserve better,” says Quilty.

 

CUPE’s national union president stands with striking Placentia municipal workers

creynolds News Release

Members of CUPE 1761 with Mark Hancock and Sherry HillierOn August 6, CUPE National President Mark Hancock brought a message of support and solidarity on behalf of CUPE’s 680,000 members across Canada, to encourage Placentia municipal workers to stand strong as their strike enters into the fourth week. “In every community across Canada, just like here in Placentia, we are protecting what generations of working people have negotiated, like good pensions and decent wages,” says Hancock.

“CUPE National will be there for the members of Local 1761, whether it be to walk the picket line or through our national strike fund. I’m also here today to send a message to the mayor and council that they’re not just facing these 15 members, they’re facing our entire national union.”

Hancock was in Placentia to participate in a community appreciation day and barbeque and to make a contribution to the local union’s strike fund. The event was hosted by CUPE 1761 to give thanks to the many residents and friends who have shown their support during this difficult round of negotiations. Messages of solidarity and support were also offered by CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier, NL Federation of Labour President Mary Shortall, and many union leaders from across the country.

“Contrary to what the mayor has said, CUPE is willing to meet with the employer anytime and willing to negotiate terms of the contract,” says CUPE 1761 President Gerry Quilty.

“We spoke with the conciliator today. He told us that the employer refuses to budge, so scheduling a bargaining session at this time is probably pointless,” adds CUPE National Representative Mark Cunningham.

“We’re asking for a cost of living increase, which means we’ll just break even over the four years. We’re not asking for a raise,” says Quilty. “Anything less than a cost of living increase means real wage losses for us and for our families.”

“The mayor has been fear-mongering by leading residents to believe that taxes will increase if wage increases are given. However, past collective agreements did not cause taxes to increase,” says Cunningham. “As well, the mayor claims it was necessary to hire outside consultants because the council lacks experience in bargaining. However, Mayor Power himself was on a past bargaining team for the town.

“Most importantly, we want the residents of Placentia to know that we have always been willing to continue negotiations, and will continue to do so, regardless of the strike,” says Quilty.

CUPE National President Mark Hancock to attend community BBQ with striking Placentia municipal workers

creynolds Collective Bargaining, News Release

At a Community BBQ and Appreciation Day to be held August 6, the members of CUPE 1761 will be joined by CUPE National President Mark Hancock and
CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier.

CUPE 1761 members will host the event to thank everyone in their community and other unions for their support, stopping by the picket line, or putting up one of their lawn signs. Placentia residents are invited to stop by to show their support or to ask questions about the negotiations.

“We truly appreciate the support and understanding the residents in Placentia have shown us,” says Gerry Quilty, CUPE 1761 president. “We love our community and providing public services to the residents of Placentia. When we made the difficult decision to walk off the job, we did so with great care and respect for the community we live in.”

DATE: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

TIME: 11:30 a.m.

LOCATION: Town Hall, 21 Patterson Drive, Placentia

Everyone is welcome to the event.

CUPE 1761 represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

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For more information, please contact:

Colleen Reynolds
CUPE Atlantic Communications
creynolds@cupe.ca

NAPE an CUPE flags at a rally

NAPE President Jerry Earle to join striking Placentia municipal workers on picket line Tuesday

creynolds News Release

Media Advisory

NAPE an CUPE flags at a rallyTown of Placentia, NL – As a sign of support and solidarity, NAPE representatives, staff and members will join with striking CUPE 1761 workers on the picket line tomorrow. NAPE President Jerry Earle will also be in attendance.

DATE: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

TIME: 12:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Town Hall, 21 Patterson Drive, Placentia

CUPE 1761 members, employed by the Town of Placentia, have been on strike since July 16, 2019, after 14 months of disappointing negotiations with their employer. The union represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

“We’re stronger when we stand together,” says CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier, agreeing with comments from NAPE President Jerry Earle. “Thank you to our NAPE brothers and sisters!”

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Reynolds
CUPE Atlantic Communications
(902) 209-2253