Work stoppage ends at Revera Riverbend extended care facility
The labour dispute between members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and Revera Inc., which operates the Revera Retirement Living-Riverbend in Edmonton, has been referred to binding arbitration with the establishment of a Public Emergency Tribunal (PET).
The declaration of a public emergency brings an end to the strike and lockout at the facility now entering its third month, with the PET authorized to hear the dispute and impose a binding award on the two parties involved. Workers are expected to return to work immediately.
The labour dispute was referred to a PET by Human Services Minister Dave Hancock based on recommendations from Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne. Alberta Health Services has conducted daily inspections of Revera Riverbend since the strike began on June 5, and Alberta Health has conducted weekly monitoring. The most recent inspections and monitoring found a number of deficiencies in the care of the 120 residents, resulting in Horne’s recommendation to Hancock.
“We respect the rights of the bargaining parties under our labour legislation, but we can’t allow situations that threaten the health, safety and well-being of Albertans in care,” Hancock said. “A public emergency has been declared in this case and I have referred the matter to a Public Emergency Tribunal.”
“While there has been a contingency plan in place to ensure the health and safety of residents, it is no longer working. The situation inside the Revera facility has deteriorated,” Horne said. “This latest audit found evidence of conditions that pose an unacceptable level of risk to residents.”
The parties will have a 21-day period to attempt to reach an agreement on their own, with the assistance of a government-appointed mediator. If the parties have not settled their differences by this time, the PET will make a full inquiry and issue an award that is binding on both sides. The terms will be included in their collective agreement.
Alberta has a strong record of labour relations stability. Over 99 per cent of collective agreements are settled without a work stoppage.
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Media Note: Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk will be available for media comment in Alberta Legislature rotunda at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 14.
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