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BRANDON – Employees at Hillcrest Place Personal Care Home in Brandon rejected their employer’s final offer in a vote held on March 11, 2014. Bargaining reached a stalemate over reducing the wage gap between employees at Hillcrest and other personal care homes in the region.

“The wage gap between workers at Hillcrest and other personal care homes is baffling” states Phyllis Denbow, President of CUPE Local 2526, representing approximately 100 health care aides, dietary aides and kitchen staff. “We range anywhere from $3 to $5 less per hour than employees doing the same work elsewhere, it’s just not fair”.

Additionally, many employees at Hillcrest, which is operated by Extendicare, are working short staffed. This occurs when there are not enough health care aides per shift to adequately care for all residents, leading to employees struggling to fill the gap in the workload and can lead to stress, additional sick time and an unsafe work environment.

“Our members care very deeply for the residents at Hillcrest” states Glenda Smith, CUPE National Representative, “we want to ensure that every resident receives the level of care and attention they deserve”.

On February 11th & 12th and March 3rd & 4th, the parties met with a Conciliation Officer to work towards addressing these important issues. A strike date is yet to be determined.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 25,000 public sector workers in the Province of Manitoba, in health care, education, crown corporations, airlines, social services and childcare, and municipalities.