Charleswood Care Centre employees fight for a fair pension

Employees at Charleswood Care Centre in Winnipeg held info pickets all day on Monday, May 16, in an effort to raise public awareness that in Manitoba private, for-profit long-term care workers have very little financial security in retirement.

Members of CUPE 4281, representing support staff at Charleswood Personal Care Centre, rejected their employer’s final offer in a vote held in March 2016, and have been meeting with a provincial conciliation officer since in an effort to work towards securing a pension plan.

Ten CUPE locals, as well as members of CUPW came out in solidarity with members of CUPE 4281 in their fight for a fair pension.

“The public understands that we need to support personal care home workers,” states CUPE National Representative Robyn Powell, “they are underpaid, overworked, and after decades of caring for the elderly, they too deserve dignity, security and respect in their golden years.”

At the bargaining table, the employer indicated a willingness to provide a pension plan, but only if members are willing to accept contracting out language.

Meetings with a conciliation officer are scheduled for May 20 to attempt to reach a fair deal, but public support is very important to staff.

Charleswood Care Centre is owned and operated by Revera Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Public Sector Pension Investment Board. Many Revera facilities across Ontario are members of the Nursing Home and Related Industries Pension Plan (NHRIPP), while facilities such as Charleswood Care Centre here in Manitoba are members of a group RRSP plan. CUPE is proposing that current employer and employee RRSP contributions instead be directed to the NHRIPP.

“We want to see staff at Charleswood rolled into the same plan that many Revera employees in Ontario belong to,” says Powell. “The pension plan structure already exists, but for some reason Revera is opposed to its employees in Manitoba being members of a pension plan, and that needs to change”.

A special thanks goes out to CUPE Locals 4860, 2719, 3729, 500, 2039, 2153, 2348, 2180, 1599, 744, and CUPW for the strong show of solidarity!