Local 1285 members at Chartwell Montgomery Village voted 89 per cent in favour of ratification of the new agreement on July 16, 2019.
“Our Ask Hilda campaign was focused on pushing back against Chartwell’s two-year wage freeze proposal for those workers affected by the 2018 minimum wage increase,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This victory speaks volumes to the success of our Ask Hilda campaign. The campaign garnered support from residents, families and community members forcing the employer to back down from its regressive proposal.”
The new three-year agreement includes the following increases:
- Minimum two per cent wage increases for all classifications in each year of the agreement.
- An additional two per cent spread in the grid for dining and housekeeping staff.
- One per cent wage adjustments for Personal Support Workers and cooks.
Additional gains include an additional paid sick day, a weekend shift premium, significant improvements to the overtime language and monetary compensation for part-time employees in lieu of health benefits.
The campaign featured a series of “Ask Hilda” videos, based on the Chartwell commercials that used an actor to represent a resident called “Ask Edna”. The name Hilda was used because these workers are consistently found to fall under the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act (HLDAA) that prevents most health care workers in the province from striking. The role of Hilda was played by Unifor Retiree, Roxy Baker.
“Today’s victory shows that when workers take collective action they are force to be reckoned with,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the Unifor National President. “We saw rallies against Chartwell organized across Ontario where thousands of community members signed petitions demanding that workers be paid a fair wage. Our online presence was just as strong, where the Ask Hilda videos have been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook.”
Local 1285 represents nearly 50 members working at the retirement home in Orangeville, Ontario. Local’s 229, 2458 and 8300 were also involved in the campaign for Chartwell Retirement Homes. It is expected that those workplaces will reach settlements based on this pattern.