Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas to all, with a special Thank You to all those who supported us over this difficult time.  You are much appreciated!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Media Release: Dispute Resolved

We now have a copy of the media release put out by SAIL.      


Labour Dispute Resolved Between SAIL Inc. and AUPE

For Immediate Release (Edmonton, Alberta)
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The labor dispute between the home care company Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is over.  A mutually agreed upon settlement has been reached. 
SAIL Inc. wishes AUPE and its members all the best in their future endeavours.

Since 1990 SAIL Inc. has provided a consumer driven, self-directed model of homecare to user members. SAIL is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  User-members live in their own apartment or condominium at Artspace Housing Co-op.  Artspace is a vibrant 88 unit Co-op that offers housing to a diverse community of 180 people, including people with disabilities and seniors. Up to 30 Co-op members use the home care services of SAIL. Each user-member of SAIL is responsible for directing the home care staff as to how best to meet their needs. The user-member also has a say as to when their care time is scheduled.  SAIL’s unique model of home care offers maximum independence to the user members.

Media coverage: Edmonton Journal

It took a while, but news of the labour dispute at our home ending has finally been reported.  Here is an article from the Edmonton Journal.

Seven-month labour dispute ends at Edmonton housing co-opBy Keith Gerein, Edmonton Journal December 16, 2014

The story is nice and neutral; a media win, I'd say.  There were a couple of things that should probably have a bit of clarification, or at least a fleshing out.  These are likely due to word count limitations and lack of information than anything else.

A labour dispute at the Artspace Housing Co-operative has ended after more than seven months.

Two hundred and nineteen days, so be exact.

To clarify, yes, the dispute was AT the co-op, but not WITH the co-op.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees spokesman Tyler Bedford said a settlement was reached between the union and the non-profit group that manages home care services

Company, not group.  SAIL Inc. is a non-profit company, run by a volunteer board, and is a subsidiary of Artspace Housing Co-op Inc.  It's a niggling point, but there is a legal difference.

 for about 30 residents of the apartment co-op.

Apartments and townhouses. The townhouses are across the street from the high rise, and SAIL user members, who are all living independently in their own private homes, might be in either.  There are anywhere from 130-180 people living here.  Like any other residential building (or buildings, in our case), it can change.   At the moment, all units are occupied, so we're at the high end of the scale.  The number of SAIL user members is a very small portion of the total population of the co-op.

Terms of the deal are confidential but the result is the health care aides represented by AUPE will not be returning to work at the co-op at 93rd Street and 101A Avenue. 

Another niggling detail.  The staff did not work at the co-op.  They worked at the SAIL office, which is in unit 103 of the high rise.  From there, they would go to people's homes to provide care.  Those homes happen to also be in Artspace, but they did not work "at" Artspace.  

When you have spent much of your life fighting to be able to live independently, this is a very important detail.  The home care staff went from the employer's office to people's private homes.  

Let's put it this way.  If a person needing home care, provided by AHS, had an apartment in any of the other high rises here in Edmonton, no one would say the home care workers were working "at" the apartment building, but at that person's apartment.   The landlord of the building would not be considered the employer or the place of employment.  The fact that the worker would need to pass through common areas, such as hallways and elevators, or use shared amenities, such as laundry rooms or garbage chutes, does not change that.  

So what this sentence should be saying is that the staff would not be returning to work at SAIL, not "the co-op."

... but the employees were then locked out by their employer, known as Supports for Artspace Independent Living (SAIL).

Known as??

What a strange thing way to put it.  

Picket lines have been present outside the building ever since.

To be fair to AUPE, that's not quite true.  They were here on Remembrance Day, but stopped coming when the hearing with the Labour Board started the next day.  They stayed away until Nov. 23 - day 200 - when they had another party, then picketed for two more days.  Aside from the odd day they didn't show up over the previous 6 months, the last time there was picketing seen at Artspace was Nov. 25.

Also, they would hang out at either the high rise or the townhouses, or at the cul du sac North of the above ground parking, so this is where the writer should have said "the co-op" instead of "the building."  It's unlikely the writer would have known this.

The non-profit group has been using replacement workers to tend to residents’ needs,
Let's try that one again; "The non-profit company ... to tend to user members' needs."  
Thanks, Keith Gerein, for doing a rather good job in covering this announcement.  Certainly better than most of the coverage we've had over the past 7 months!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pleased to share

Today, we received the following notice, which we are pleased to share.

The labour dispute is over. We look forward to resuming our lives in our wonderful and peaceful community.

That's about all we know right now.

Many thanks to all who have supported us.

Monday, 8 December 2014

An Update:

Regarding the labour dispute between AUPE and SAIL, discussions are under way and things are looking positive.
The blog is coming down as a sign of good faith while these discussions proceed.
We are hopeful that a formal press release will be issued by SAIL and AUPE once the matter is resolved.
Thankyou to all who submitted their stories, video, and photographs to the Artspace Under Siege blog.