Home care workers' contracts expired in 2014, now headed to conciliation.
St. John's (30 June 2015) — After meeting with home care agencies at the bargaining table for the past year, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) has either applied for or has already entered conciliation in hopes that agreements can be reached without resorting to strike action.
NAPE represents over 4000 Home and Youth Care (hereafter: home care) workers at 27 Home and Youth Care agencies across Newfoundland and Labrador.
Those agencies are as follows: A Better Living, Bettercare, Comfort Home Care, Compassion Home Care, Exploits Home Care, Helping Hands, Maximum Home Support, Notre Dame Compassionate, Provincial (Central), Provincial (Eastern), Quality Home Care, Rosemore Home Care, Total Nursing Care, Your Home Care Services, Loving Hands, Serenity Home Care, Horwoods Home care, Caregivers, Tender Loving Care, South Coast Home Care, All Care Home Support, Best of Care, Angel’s Touch Home Care, Caring Hands Home Care, Placentia Home Care, Home Sweet Home, and In Home Health Care.
Home care workers play a vital role in community health yet are the lowest paid in Newfoundland and Labrador
“Home care workers play a vital role in our province’s health care system providing care and support to some of our province’s most vulnerable. Home care workers allow both youth and seniors alike to stay in the comfort of their own homes and their own communities while also reducing the stress, strain, and financial burden on our health care facilities. These workers should be treated with the dignity and respect that comes with that role and responsibility,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “Despite this reality, home care workers continue to be amongst the lowest paid in our province.”
All of the collective agreements for these groups expired in June of 2014.
Major obstacle in negotiations is the lack of government funding for home care
“While progress has been made at the bargaining table, it has been a long and arduous process. After almost a full year of negotiations, we have unfortunately reached an impasse at the bargaining table. As a result, we have entered the conciliation stage of the bargaining process,” continued Earle.
“The major complicating factor in these negotiations is the role of the provincial government, since they provide the funds for the home care system to the agencies that we are currently at the bargaining table with. To date, neither the employers nor the union have been able to get a commitment for additional funds for home care from this government.”
Allowing people to remain in their homes means funding the system adequately so that workers are paid a fair wage
“One thing is clear, the only way forward at the bargaining table is if the government steps up and increases funding for the home care system and the workers who deliver the service to thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians every day,” said Earle. “If this government is serious about reducing the burden on the health care system by allowing people to stay and age in their own homes, then they must provide the resources necessary to make it work.”
“We are fully committed to reaching a deal at the table, but only if our home care workers receive the pay and benefits that they deserve,” stated Earle. “We are hopeful that all sides can come to an agreement so that our dedicated, compassionate, and hardworking home care workers can continue to care for the people of this province without any interruption.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE