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Chartwell Griesbach and Heritage Valley members have a first contract!


Aug 16, 2022


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NOTE: This bargaining update has been revised to fix the link to the Zoom meetings.

It’s time to celebrate – then start work to fight for improvements

After nearly four years of hard work and bargaining, AUPE members at Chartwell Griesbach and Heritage Valley finally have a first contract.
After hearing from your AUPE negotiator and the employer, the arbitration board has made its report, which includes your first contract. The terms of that contract are binding on both sides.
While this process took longer than we had anticipated, you now have some certainty on how your workplaces should operate.
As with any arbitration process, neither side gets everything it wants. However, there are some definite wins for workers, including:

  • Vacation carry-over: Employees can request that five days of vacation earned one year be carried over to the next year. Such requests shall not be unreasonably denied.
  • Vacation extensions: Employees can request that vacations can be extended with up to five days of unpaid leave. Such requests shall not be unreasonably denied.
  • Union business: Union meetings can be held at the work sites; 24-hour notice of disciplinary meetings to arrange for union representation; paid time for union orientation of new hires; members can wear union pins at work; and up to 60 days per year of Union Leave for each site, not including negotiating team and chapter executive.
  • Retroactive wage raises: All wage raises awarded by arbitration will be retroactive, including for workers who are no longer employed. Retroactive pay increases will be paid as lump sums within 60 days of the agreement coming into effect on Aug. 4. Former employees will be paid within 30 days of applying. To qualify for the retroactive pay, former employees must apply in writing to the employer within 90 days of Aug. 4. For more details on how former members can apply, please scroll down.

The wage raises ordered by arbitration are disappointing. The arbitrator stuck close to Chartwell’s wage proposals, with an additional 0.5 per cent in 2019 and 2022. We feel that doesn’t meet the reality of the job market in continuing care, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting labour shortage.
Wage raises

  • Year 1, Nov. 2018 - Nov. 2019: 1.5% raise.
  • Year 2, Nov. 2019 - Nov. 2020: Implement the wage grid in Appendix A. See the document "Chartwell Griesbach & Heritage Valley report" at the bottom of this bargaining update.
  • Year 3, Nov. 2020 – Nov. 2021: 1.5% raise.
  • Year 4, Nov. 2021 – Nov. 2022: 2% raise.

 Note that employees with wage rates higher than the wage grid will be red circled. This means that these members will get the increases as lump sums, but their base wages won’t be increased or reduced to match the grid.
How did we get here?
It has been a long and tough road to get our first collective agreement. First contracts with employers are always difficult and this one was no exception.
AUPE was certified to act as the bargaining agent in November 2018. Your negotiating team met with the employer several times in 2019 but failed to come to agreement.
The union applied to the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) for assistance in setting the terms of an agreement in November 2019. This was followed by informal mediation in August 2020.
The employer then presented something it called a “Final Offer to Settle,” but this offer was rejected by your negotiating team. Chartwell then applied for the board to conduct a vote on that offer. Members overwhelmingly voted to reject it, with 96.3 per cent opposed.
The employer asked to proceed directly to arbitration rather than going to enhanced mediation. Your negotiating team agreed in the hope that this would lead to a quicker resolution and avoid the possibility of a strike or lockout.
What happens next?
Copies of the final agreement will be prepared soon and made available to you.
On Aug. 23, we will hold two Zoom meetings with the negotiating team so all members can ask questions. Details of that meeting are at the end of this update.
Your negotiating team thanks all members at Chartwell Griesbach and Heritage Valley for their support, hard work and patience in getting this agreement.
However, with the contract expiring in November this year, we will be back at the bargaining table again soon.
While this will inevitably mean more work, it gives us the opportunity to build on what we have accomplished and get improvements in the next contract. That is often how first contracts work. They may not be ideal, but they create a foundation on which we can build for a better future.
For now, we should celebrate what we have achieved. Getting a first contract with a reluctant employer is never easy, but we did it. Congratulations!
Note to former members
Former employees should email the general manager at their former work site. Please use a subject line that reads: Request for retro pay [insert first and last name]. In the email, please include when you began and finished working at the Chartwell sites. We recommend you follow up with the Chartwell general managers to ensure your email was received and is being handled.
For Heritage Valley, email Darleen Williams at
For Griesbach, email Stephen Blackie at
Note to current members
If you know people who worked for Chartwell Griesbach and Heritage Valley who are no longer employed there, please share this bargaining update with them.
Zoom meetings
Tuesday, Aug. 23
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.  
5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Join meeting:

Meeting ID: 997 0735 9792
Phone: +1-587-328-1099
If you have any questions, please contact a member of your negotiating team or your chapter chair.


Bernie Kelly Griesbach or 780-717-9130

Ben Kiwang Heritage Valley or 780-885-3210    

Kathleen Cariaga-Estepa Chapter chair or 780-245-1925


Merryn Edwards Negotiations

Guy Quenneville Membership Services Officer (MSO)

Michelle Szalynski Organizing

Terry Inigo-Jones Communications

News Category

  • Bargaining updates


  • 047 - Continuing Care Separate Employers North


  • Health care

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