Edmonton 92 home support workers have been laid off at the Good Samaritan Society in Edmonton as the agency shut down its home care operations. The shut down will drastically change the arrangements for 430 home care patients in Edmonton.
We are very concerned about our patients, said Karen Varga, of CUPE 1031 at the Good Samaritan Society. We provide a wide range of care to the elderly, the disabled and people recently discharged from hospital. Some of our elderly and disabled patients have had the same care provider for 10 years. Changing their service at this point could be very difficult to the point where their health could be affected, she said.
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1031 received notice of lay-off last month. The service shuts down on November 30th with four other agencies taking over the caseload left by the Good Samaritan Society.
According to documents obtained from the Good Samaritan Society, the home support service ran a deficit of over $600,000 last year and was recently seeking wage concessions from the home support workers. CUPE has learned that the overall operating deficit for the Good Samaritan Society last year was $2.5 million.
Good Sam wanted to move to a lower standard of care by basically making us assembly line care providers. We would have had less time with each patient, so we said no. Lowering the level of care is not how to deal with deficits. Now it certainly appears to be the case that the costs of operating a high quality home support service is not the real problem given the size of the agencys overall deficit, Varga said.
The clients who received their care through the Good Samaritan Society will be moved over to one of four private health care providers. The Good Samaritan Society has refused to provide any severance package to the employees whose work includes changing catheters, colostomies and dressings, bathing, dressing and feeding patients and in many cases providing emotional support and friendship.
The Good Samaritan Society is a non profit organization providing quality health care by quality home support workers. Varga said. Because of the employer’s deficits, it is the clients and the home support care providers that are paying the price. This is a shameful way to treat the sick and disabled and a shameful way to treat hard working care providers who have dedicated themselves to these clients with the Good Samaritan Society for up to 12 years, she concluded.
CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 26,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and cupealberta.ab.ca.
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