Employees at a seniors’ residence in Hamilton, Ont., are asking the facility’s owner, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, to provide them with better pay and a pension.
The staff at Amica Dundas, which include registered practical nurses, personal support workers, as well as dietary and custodial staff, currently have no pension plan and lower wages compared to other people in their sector, according to a news release from the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
The Ontario Teachers’ purchased the seniors’ home in 2015 when its subsidiary BayBridge Seniors Housing Inc. acquired parent company Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc.
The Ontario Teachers’ should be aware of these labour issues because it conflicts with the pension fund’s principles around responsible investment, said Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions at the CUPE.
Employees aren’t only receiving inadequate compensation for their work, but their union is also finding it challenging to bargain a first collective agreement with the long-term care home, Hurley wrote in a letter to the Ontario Teachers’. “CUPE 1404 has met with resistance from Amica, which is preventing union officers from entering the home. Days away from conciliation, bargaining is at a standstill,” the letter noted.
As a result, the union is planning to hold a rally on Feb. 1 in support of employees in order to propel stalled negotiations.
While Ontario Teachers’ didn’t respond to Benefits Canada‘s request for comment, a spokesperson from the Ontario Teachers’ Federation said it learned about the issue from organizations that represent teachers across the province that were copied in a letter the union sent to the pension fund.
“We were assured that they would review the matter,” wrote the spokesperson in an email to Benefits Canada.
“It was imperative that the [Ontario] Teachers’ fund, with its global reputation, know about the labour relations practices at a company they own,” said Hurley. “How is it that the staff at Amica Dundas have no pension plan and their employer is stalling negotiating a first contract?”