The labour dispute between SAIL and AUPE is over.  An agreement was signed on December 12, 2014, after 219 days.

Thank you to everyone who supported us and spoke out for us along the way.


Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) is a unique model for the on-site provision of consumer-directed home care and personal care services. SAIL was created in 1989 by members of Artspace Housing Co-op Ltd., the sole shareholder of the nonprofit corporation. Artspace is a vibrant 88 unit housing co-operative that offers housing to a diverse community of 180 people, including people with disabilities and seniors. 30 Co-op members use the home care services of SAIL. For 24 years SAIL has provided home care with these members. The pillars of S.A.I.L. are: “self-governed; self-directed; care with you not for you.” SAIL delivers personal care, meal preparation, and homemaking and laundry. Each SAIL user lives in their own apartment or condominium and has a say in when their care time is scheduled. They give direction to the worker, including if they need assistance with medication. This is what makes the model different from institutional care. SAIL Inc. gets its funding from one source, Alberta Health Services. The volunteer Board of Directors of SAIL negotiates the funding contracts with AHS based on client care needs and is responsible for ensuring home care staff are in place to meet members’ needs.

December 2012 – Employees of SAIL vote to certify AUPE as their official bargaining agent. Top wage for SAIL employees is $19.50. SAIL conducts an informal wage and benefit review of other home care providers providing comparable services. SAIL identifies that their current wage is significantly higher than wages offered by private home care providers. SAIL agrees that their employees deserve a benefits package but SAIL could not find comparable (non-institution) unionized contracts to compare their wages with.

May 2013 – SAIL & AUPE commence bargaining and exchange first proposals for a collective agreement. AUPE proposes a 25% increase in wage plus an expectation of significant benefits, additive shift differentials and special overtime conditions. After carefully considering their budget, SAIL proposes a 1% wage increase ($19.75) along with benefits. During this time period, SAIL receives notice that AHS is cancelling their contract with SAIL Inc. and awarding home care services to a large, for profit home care agency. SAIL & AUPE agree to postpone negotiations.

June 2013 - Through co-operative efforts and collaboration, Creekside Condos, Abbey Road Housing Co-op, and SAIL Inc. win their home care service contracts back. SAIL is grateful to any and all people and organizations that spoke out on their behalf.

October 2013 – SAIL & AUPE resume bargaining. On the last day of bargaining (Oct 24), AUPE asks the SAIL bargaining committee for its monetary proposals and quickly rejects SAIL’s offer. AUPE advises SAIL that it is making application for mediation.

SAIL and AUPE Bargaining History Timeline

December 2013 - SAIL & AUPE meet in mediation. SAIL informs AUPE that the funding SAIL receives from Alberta Health Services pays for employee wages but must also pay for administration costs, utilities, office supplies, medical supplies (gloves for employees), rent, insurance etc. SAIL declines AUPE’s offer to settle through binding arbitration. The mediator issues no recommendations for settlement.

February 2014 – SAIL voluntarily provides AUPE with financial statements and a copy of their AHS contract in an effort to resolve an Unfair Labour Practice Complaint against SAIL. The complaint with AUPE is resolved. After negotiations for a first collective agreement break down, employees of SAIL vote YES to legal strike action

April 13 - SAIL rejects the AUPE demand for 15.6 % salary increase plus shift differential, special vacation pay and benefits. SAIL’s budget cannot accommodate such a drastic increase.

May 7 - AUPE workers go on strike. SAIL advises AUPE that it is currently operating under a temporary interim funding model with AHS. This will be changed on August 1st.  Until SAIL is aware of its level of funding, it is pointless to continue negotiations. AUPE begins picketing outside of the Artspace Housing Cooperative.

May 15 – With 19 hours notice, AUPE notifies it’s employees will be returning to work without a collective agreement in place. SAIL responds that it needs five days to plan for an orderly transition of replacement workers to SAIL employees; a transition which ensures the user member’s health care needs are met.

May 16. AUPE officials and SAIL employees arrive at Artspace at 7 am, causing disruption to the SAIL program. SAIL Inc. refuses entry and pays out permanent staff for the long weekend while replacement staff continue to provide excellent care. SAIL applies for a lockout.

May 19. SAIL Inc. lockout application is approved and takes effect.

June 7 – Mediation. AUPE rejects SAIL’s offer of increased wages and benefits.

June 9 – AUPE cancels picket protocols and escalates disruption in the community. Leverage tactics include use of bull horns, air raid siren, name calling. Complaints by SAIL users, Artspace members, and neighbors lead to multiple visits by Edmonton Police Service.

July 4, 23—SAIL and AUPE attend mediation. Not able to agree, the mediator agrees to write a recommendation. On July 28 SAIL and AUPE receive the recommendation.

August 1—SAIL is unable to accept the mediator’s recommendation. SAIL’s bargaining goals are to provide employees with the best wage and benefits package possible that works within the funding model.

Contact: Roxanne Ulanicki, President, SAIL Board of Directors

Roxanne.ulanicki@shaw.ca 780-421-4552

(current as of Aug. 1, 2014)

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