AHS fires staff at co-op for disabled residents

Union calls for release of contract details

EDMONTON – A co-operative housing project for the disabled in Old Strathcona has been told by Alberta Health Services (AHS) it must lay off its staff and turn operations over to a private, for profit, company.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is calling on AHS to release details of the contract with the private contractor.

Abby Road Co-op, a housing project on Whyte Ave, has been run by residents for years.  Residents elect a board of directors which in turn hires about 25 staff to provide home care services to some of the disabled residents. The co-op was advised verbally by AHS that as of August 1st, those services would be run by Revera Incorporated.

Staff were given termination notices last week.

CUPE Alberta, which represents the terminated employees at Abby Road, says the government is interfering in a project that has been working well for years.  CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts says the residents, their board, and the staff are all happy with the current arrangements.

“Our members have been told they will be laid off, and they can re-apply for their jobs if they wish,” said Roberts.

“This is a terrible way to treat people,” said Roberts. “The residents are worried they will lose their caregivers, and our members are being told they might be out of a job.”

Roberts said the Co-op bid to continue to hire their own staff, but the contract was given to Revera.

“To take away the ability of residents to manage their own affairs, and to give the contract to a private company with no history at this facility, doesn’t smell right,” said Roberts.

“AHS should release details of their contract with Revera and make the case that services won’t decrease.”

Contact: Lou Arab, Communications Representative