Laid-offworkers rehired, Sunridge claims

Most of the workers at Sunridge Place who received layoff notices earlier this year as the seniors care facility moved towards new ownership have been hired back by the company contracted to supply employees.

According to Dean Malone, director of operations at CareCorp Senior Services, his group is the official provider of care and support services at Sunridge Place, effective Monday, June 2. “Everyone who worked here has been invited to apply and the majority of those people have chosen to remain at Sunridge.”

There had been uncertainty among 264 staff members since they received notice Feb. 17 that the facility on Bundock Street in Duncan had been sold to Park Place Seniors Living.

The notice included 124 casual employees and about 140 regular full-time and part-time employees, according to the Hospital Employees Union, who represented them.

Malone said that it had always been the plan to hire back as many of the employees who wished to return.

“It would never be the intention to not invite those who work currently here to work,” Malone said. “We have 177 employees here and as you can imagine we would not be able to find that many if we went externally or to be interested in doing that, as the best people to work here are those who have worked here previously.”

Arguments have raged ever since Cowichan

Lodge was initially under threat of closure that seniors in facilities needed continuity of care to maintain good mental and physical health.

“There are relationships, established care routines: all of those important things,” Malone said.

Under CareCorp’s service delivery contract, they licensed practical nurses, care aides, and support services like housekeeping, laundry, assisted living workers, food service – pretty much everybody except registered nurses, according to Malone.

Meanwhile the contract with Sunridge that saw such workers represented by the HEU came to an end with the change of ownership Monday. According to HEU communications officer Mike Old, Monday was tough for workers.

“They will be wondering about the future. I don’t really have solid information on whether CareCorp has hired many of the former employees or not. I don’t know what the wage rates will be with the sub-contractor. I’m pretty sure they will be lower. That’s the whole idea behind this kind of thing. I think we’re in for a period of instability for workers at the facility and that does have an impact on the degree of care,” Old said.

Monday was a watershed for the employees, he added.

“Our members have got a lot on their minds today: about what they’re going to be doing tomorrow if they’re not working at Sunridge, how to put together a decent living for their families. Of course they will also be concerned about the continuity of care for the seniors at Sunridge but they will be wondering about the future.”