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Notice of strike by attendants at Chartwell seniors' residences

(Montreal) The main union of beneficiary attendants in the private sector has just sent a strike notice in seven private residences of the Chartwell Group. And others could be affected.

Lia Lévesque

The Canadian Press

The seven Chartwell residences concerned for the moment are located in Quebec, Chicoutimi and Jonquière. Some 500 workers would be affected by this unlimited general strike, as of 09 July.

The negotiations between the Quebec Union of Service Employees, affiliated to the FTQ, and the Chartwell Group – the largest private employer in this field in the country – are at an impasse.

These negotiations concern 15 Chartwell residences, but only seven, for the moment, would be affected by the strike, SQEES reported on Wednesday.

To exercise this pressure, the SQEES knowingly chose residences that are located in the cold zone of the coronavirus pandemic, said in an interview Sylvie Nelson, president of the union.

And, even in the cold zone, “if there were cases of COVID, we would suspend the strike,” she insisted.

She specifies that the SQEES already holds a strike mandate in “the majority” of 15 residences of the Chartwell Group.

The parties have been in conciliation for some time already.

“We got there because we met with Chartwell senior management and we proposed a negotiation blitz to settle this before the summer, but they don't have a mandate from Mississauga (where is the direction of the company) “, lamented M me Nelson.

“The goal is not to go on strike. But we want it to be settled, “hammered M me Nelson.

For its part, the Chartwell management was sorry for the moment chosen by the SQEES to disengage. “The period to exercise the strike mandates seems very badly chosen, when we are dedicated to fighting the pandemic which still represents a significant threat to our residents,” said Marie-France Lemay, vice-president of operations and sales for Quebec.

For 15 $ per hour

These workers in private seniors' residences normally earn 13 $ to 14 $ an hour – before temporary premiums paid by the government because of COVID – 19.

They claim 15 $ an hour on hire and $ 1 an hour increase per year.

“We, our people work very hard. And it takes decent wages, wages that look good, “said the union leader.

On behalf of Chartwell, M me Lemay assured that the The company remains fully open to negotiating competitive wage increases for the private residences sector, as we have done so far. We continue to believe that we will come to negotiated agreements. ”

These unions represent attendants for beneficiaries, but also attendants in the dining room, maintenance, reception, for example.

In some cases, the collective agreement has expired since December 2018.

The union still hopes to be able to reach an agreement with the Chartwell Group by 10 July. He also gave longer notice than required to announce his strike.

In the event of a strike, essential services would be provided. The Administrative Labor Court has already ruled in this regard, for previous strikes, even if they are private establishments.

Chartwell management is preparing, just in case. “It is clear that we will make every effort to minimize the impact of these pressure tactics and maintain a safe and pleasant living environment for them [les résidents], while preserving the rewarding work environment that we offer to our employees Added M me Lemay.

The seven seniors' residences affected are Chartwell Appartements de Bordeaux in Quebec, Chartwell Domaine de Bordeaux in Quebec, Chartwell Faubourg Giffard in Quebec, Chartwell (CSH-HCN Lessee) Manoir Archer in Quebec, Chartwell Villa du Saguenay in Saguenay , Chartwell Villa Chicoutimi in Saguenay and Chartwell Villa Jonquière in Saguenay.