Workers at George Derby Centre can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that their jobs are no longer in peril. The Burnaby care home for veterans was planning to lay off more than 90 workers, represented by the Hospital Employees' Union, and contract out their jobs, but the society behind the non-profit centre quashed the plan last week.
"With the layoff notices rescinded, the veterans and their families will retain the familiar and dedicated workers they have come to know and trust, and affected workers will continue to support and care for the residents they've come to know so well," said Hospital Employees' Union spokesperson Bonnie Pearson. "This is good news for all involved."
The layoffs were expected to save money in order to provide more care hours for residents.
But after an outcry from the labour movement, politicians and families with loved ones at the George Derby Centre, the society called a moratorium on the layoffs Nov. 23 - one day before a scheduled protest outside the centre - and then revoked the plan altogether last week. The original idea was to contract out housekeeping, food services, laundry, clerical and activity staff.
In a Dec. 6 letter to the union, the facility's executive director confirmed that "the contracting out process for George Derby Centre has been ended effective immediately," and that workers were now being notified "that their layoff notice has been rescinded and that they will continue in their permanent positions."
George Derby has approximately 300 residents, and the majority suffers from dementia. The centre receives funding from the Fraser Health Authority, but Veterans Affairs pays for some programs.
Pearson said that the union is prepared to work with George Derby Centre, the residents and the families to maintain and improve services and care, and she called on the Fraser Health Authority and Veterans Affairs Canada to be part of those discussions.
No one from the George Derby Centre was available for comment by press time.