Laval, July 11th 2016 – Contract negotiations at Résidences Soleil in Sainte-Julie, Québec have stalled. Barring a last-minute agreement, workers will strike on July 14th
During the strike, the Teamsters Union is committed to ensuring the entirety of services in order to guarantee the well-being and safety of the seniors under their care.
“We believe that the comfort of seniors must be fully ensured during the labour dispute,” explained Jean Chartrand, the President of Local Union 106, which represents the workers in question. “We’ll keep doing our jobs, and our members will picket during their break times and days off. ”
Management Coming Up Short
Workers rejected their employer’s three proposals in April, June and July. The rejected offers simply did not reflect the hard work done by the home’s orderlies, auxiliary nurses and kitchen staff. Orderlies, for example, are only paid between $12.86 and $14.19 per hour.
Teamsters Local Union 106 represents 74 workers at the retirement home. They’re asking for a $1.50 raise for a two-year collective agreement, as well as a premium for night shifts.
“We’re going on strike unless management returns to the bargaining table with an acceptable proposal,” warned the trade unionist. “We won’t back down. Workers deserve better.”
The previous collective agreement expired on September 18, 2015. Despite help from a conciliator, no significant progress was made at the bargaining table and workers reacted by voting unanimously for a strike.
Retirement home staff work in a non-competitive industry when it comes to their working conditions. They have no pension, very few days off and even fewer benefits. The Teamsters Union is working to change that.
“They’re asked to look after our mom and dads and get nothing but unfair treatment in return,” said Chartrand. “A strike in Sainte-Julie could lead to strikes across the province. We’re tired of being treated like cheap labour.”
In addition to improving working conditions, one long-term solution to the issue of working conditions in Québec retirement homes would be to set up a joint committee, which could significantly improve labour relations and the lives of workers.
“Working in a retirement home is physically and mentally demanding”, concluded Chartrand. “Our wages should reflect that.”
The Teamsters represents 120,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Cell: 514 609-5101