[Burnaby, B.C.] – Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) members who work at seven long-term care homes across British Columbia voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action, delivering a strong strike mandate to back their bargaining demands for a new contract with Good Samaritan Canada.
“This strong vote for strike action by over 1,100 HEU members who work for Good Samaritan Canada sends a clear message that seniors’ care workers demand job security, respect, and fair compensation,” says HEU Secretary-Business Manager Meena Brisard.
“HEU members rejected Good Samaritan’s demand for the right to contract out work and the employer’s unwillingness to increase any form of compensation in this time of spiraling household costs.”
“We have a staffing crisis in health care right now, and Good Samaritan’s push for the right to contract work out sends the wrong signal about the need for stable, permanent jobs in long-term care,” says Brisard.
In addition to their contracting out demand, Good Samaritan also refuses to negotiate even modest improvements in benefits and other compensation measures – even though the last monetary increase it gave its workers was in 2019. Since then, any boost in financial compensation for Good Samaritan employees has come solely through the B.C. government wage-levelling program.
“Like every other British Columbian, our members are facing rising costs for their families,” says Brisard. “This employer is being asked to make reasonable monetary improvements to benefits, shift premiums and other items that better protect members’ pay cheques against inflation.”
Good Samaritan Canada employs HEU members as care aides, dietary workers, housekeepers, registered nurses, activity aides, and several other jobs. Members from all seven sites took part in two weeks of balloting, which wrapped up July 21.
The seven Good Samaritan Canada sites include Victoria Heights in New Westminster, Delta View in Delta, Christenson Village in Gibsons, Pioneer Village and Hillside Lodge in Salmon Arm, Village by the Station in Penticton, and Heron Grove in Vernon.
The Hospital Employees’ Union is B.C.’s largest health care union with more than 60,000 members across the province.