Aylmer Monastery urges Chartwell back to negotiations table
On November 13, the Teamsters Union and Aylmer Monastery employees laid down the picketing signs they’ve been waving since the beginning of their strike on September 30.
“The protest isn’t over, but in a show of good faith, we’ve decided to put a temporary stop to the picketing. There haven’t been any negotiations since before the beginning of protests in September and for the health of our workers and the Monastery’s residents, we want to talk,” the Director of Communications and Public Affairs of the Teamsters Union, Stéphane Lacroix, told the Bulletin.
The work conflict between Chartwell Group and the retirement home’s 110 employees arose due to various litigation, including salary inequities with other retirement residences owned by the same group.
According to M. Lacroix, beneficiary attendants at the Monastery earn $14 an hour on average, while their counterparts in other Chartwell Group establishments make $18 an hour. The same type of employment in the public sector pays around $21 an hour.
This plan of action has been deemed necessary by the teamsters’ union due to a drop in the morale of employees and potential threat a prolonged conflict could have on the care provided to residents. Six people have already left their jobs to work elsewhere.
“Workers here are tired and angry; they feel ignored and insulted by an employer who already treated them as second-class workers. These people want respect, they want to be treated the same as others doing the same job for the same company. A lot of them have expressed their fatigue and their willingness to quit their job altogether. Should 5, 10 or even 20 decide to do so, it could really threaten the level of care residents receive.”
Strikers say that service to residents has so far not been disrupted, as employees of the Monasery have been working in tandem both to protest on Principale Street and ensure that their usual duties are done.
According to M. Lacroix, Monastery residents have expressed their solidarity with those who have helped provide care for them, even going as far as to create their own petition calling for Chartwell to negotiate.
As of November 14, 24 hours after the picketing stopped, no meeting has yet been planned between the employer and the union.