A new three-year collective agreement was recently officially agreed upon for Members of Local 301 working at Sylvan Lake Lodge in a round of bargaining between the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) and the seniors’ facility.
“This round of bargaining with Sylvan Lake Lodge was a challenge,” said CLAC representative Ed De Bruyn, adding that months of meetings and two failed ratifications made reaching the agreement tough.
Highlights include an at least 2 per cent annual wage increase for 30 workers in the Lodge. This breaks down to increases of 2 percent for dietary workers, 2 per cent for housekeeping workers and 2.25 percent for maintenance workers.
De Bruyn said he’s pleased members of CLAC at the lodge earn a “deserved fair income and in addition enjoy solid health, retirement and training benefits” through the union.
“We finally have a good deal for our members working at the Lodge,” said De Bruyn.
One of the highlights of the agreement includes better language for employees on probation that matches recent changes to Alberta’s employment standards legislation. De Bruyn explained that when employees are hired, they are hired as casual employees and said as such they “usually have limited rights” under the Employment Standards Code of Alberta or the previous collective agreement.
“This round of negotiations we were able to add probationary language for casual employees, which sets a time limit as to how long someone can actually be considered a new employee,” he wrote in an email.
De Bruyn said if a new employee is dismissed outside the probationary period, they may still enter a grievance or request arbitration if they consider the dismissal unjust.
“This change provides protection for new employees even though they are classified as casual employees.”
Another highlight addresses what DeBruyn sees as inequality in the on-call procedure where the burden falls to a few employees rather than being evenly distributed.
“In this round of bargaining, we were able to distribute that work evenly amongst all of the employees, so that everyone takes a turn on a rotational schedule, and this evenly distributes the need for on call coverage amongst all of the employees working at the Lodge.”
At the lodge, seniors have access to subsidized housing, meals, housekeeping, recreational programs and staffing 24-7.