$2 raise for some health care workers in Alberta over a month late

Delay isn’t from Alberta Health, spokesperson confirms

So far into the COVID-19 pandemic, provinces such as Ontario, B.C., and Quebec have responded with wage increases for staff at senior care homes.

A similar promise was made on April 20, by Health Minister Tyler Shandro, who committed a $2 an hour increase for health care aides across Alberta.

But CUPE Alberta confirms, many workers are still waiting for the raise to kick in.

CUPE Alberta, which represents over 5,000 health care workers across the province, unveiled a website Saturday to ask MLAs to recognize the hard work of health care employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The website, www.supportfrontlineheroes.ca includes a tool to send messages to Alberta MLAs.

CUPE Alberta (Local 709) president Rory Gill says the union launched the campaign because “CUPE members are tired of the disregard (Jason) Kenney government has shown for health care workers.”

“Other provinces have increased wages by over $4 per hour, have been quicker to implement single staff rules, proper PPE, and other actions to keep everyone safe,” said Gill. “Here, the Kenney government has gone to war with doctors, made fake promises to workers, and dragged their heels on important safety standards.”

Steve Buick, press secretary to the Minister of Health, said Sunday, Alberta Health transferred the money to operators on May 8.

He confirmed there hasn’t been a delay from the government, and “any delay by any other party is unacceptable.”

“The expectation is that funds are distributed as soon as possible,” he explained Sunday. “In fact the first operators paid the top-up last week and all are committed to paying it by early June.”

On May 21, AUPE vice-president Susan Slade said the agency wants to see a raise for the rest of the health care workers such as licensed practical nurses.

“This $2 raise for only one classification of worker was made without consultation. While Albertans working in other jobs deserve a top up too, at least give it to the people you said you would,” she had said.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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