CALGARY—Auxiliary nursing care workers at AgeCare Seton, a private, for-profit continuing care home in Calgary, have voted to join the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. The Alberta Labour Relations Board certified the unionization vote on April 28.
“The organizing that these workers have done is inspiring, and we’re proud to have them in our union family,” says Bobby-Joe Borodey, a vice-president of AUPE. “These workers know that the only way to improve their working conditions—and care for residents—is by working together with co-workers, and that’s what they’ve done.”
The new bargaining unit will cover all auxiliary nursing care workers on the worksite, including Health Care Aides (HCAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), recreation aides, and physiotherapy aides. In total, the new bargaining unit is comprised of 324 members.
“We’ve heard from these workers, and they know what they want,” Borodey says. “They want to improve their working conditions, and they want to have genuine accountability from their employer. They want job security and dignity at work. That’s why they unionized.”
AgeCare Seton workers will now be working diligently to secure their first collective agreement, with the support of AUPE’s over 90,000 members across the province.
“These workers got organized under extremely difficult circumstance,” Borodey says. “They got organized while working in the hardest-hit industry during a once-in-a-century pandemic. Like so many other workers , they’ve realized that the only real protection they can have at work comes from forming a union with their co-workers.”
“These workers have shown incredible strength,” Borodey says. “Not only do they go into work every day and put themselves at risk to care for residents, but they also have shown care for their colleagues by getting organized.”
Over the course of the pandemic, surveys show that support for labour unions in Canada has increased dramatically. “Workers increasingly understand that the only way to keep themselves, their co-workers, and the public safe is by getting organized,” Borodey says.
“There’s a term for people who put themselves at risk for the benefit of others—heroes,” Borodey says. “Frontline workers deserve to be treated as such. And the workers at AgeCare Seton are showing us how to make that a reality.”
Bobby-Joe Borodey is available for comment. Contact Jon Milton, Communications Officer, at email@example.com