Le Syndicat des travailleuses et des travailleurs de la santé et des services sociaux du Bas-Saint-Laurent (CUPE 5007) is publicly condemning the unfortunate situation currently affecting the long-term care centre (CHSLD) run by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux du Bas-Saint-Laurent (CISSS-BSL).

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis that has claimed many lives in CHSLDs, the Quebec government offered full-time jobs to interested patient attendants to stabilize their employment, enhance employee retention and improve the quality of care in CHSLDs.

With this in mind, CUPE and the Comité patronal de négociation du secteur de la santé et des services sociaux (CPNSSS) signed a province-wide agreement last December 15.  Some CISSS and CIUSSS in Quebec drew from this agreement and negotiated what is known as a tenure-based agreement with their union representatives. This proved to be a very positive step wherever it could be taken across the province.

Situation at the CISSS-BSL

Unfortunately, as soon as the CISSS-BSL began applying its interpretation of the agreement, many problems and inconsistencies cropped up, which ended up with too many routes, different schedules and much instability for residents and patient attendants.

“Some residents end up with almost as many patient attendants as there are shifts in a week. A patient attendant in a full-time job must take several routes with multiple schedules on each shift,” said Johanne Campagna, president of CUPE 5007.

These situations resulted in a grievance to be heard within the next few days and in several justified criticisms from union members, residents and their families.

The parties agreed to create a joint working table tasked with establishing an acceptable application of the agreement before the dispute went to arbitration. Although some progress was made, just as the application guide was being written, the CISSS-BSL left the table and decided to rely on the outcome of the arbitration hearing.

Failure and denunciation

That is why the union is blaming the CEO of the CISSS-BSL, Ms, Isabelle Malo, for the failure of talks.  The union also regrets that some of her subordinates are taking a hard line by refusing collaboration and mediation.

“We will therefore find ourselves in arbitration for three days in November because the right people aren’t in the right places in this CISSS, which undermines the well-being of residents and the quality of services provided to this very vulnerable clientele. The CEO claims she subscribes to the modern way of managing human resources and refers to us as ‘her partners.’ This statement is light-years away from what is actually happening on the ground,” said Sylvain Lirette, a CUPE union representative.