Layoffs will be hitting some staff at Cassellholme with a total of ten positions being affected to some degree in an attempt to meet the requirements for mandated pay equity, according to chief executive officer, Jamie Lowery.
“There was a blend of tactics we’ve undertaken to meet our obligations to pay equity,” he said. “Some are reductions to part time, but only a couple were true layoffs. We started looking at internal processes we could save on as well as cuts to overtime before even looking at making cuts to the staff level.”
Lowery said they were required to make cuts to offset the $587,000 in pay equity they were mandated to cover—which he admits was a surprisingly high amount.
He said the increase in relation to personal support workers is due to the provincial changes to educational requirements in 2011, making the process a lot more demanding. He also said a big impact was having to make retroactive payments as far back as January 1.
Despite the cuts, Lowery wanted to be clear that he and the board have always and will always hold the care of the residents at Cassellholme as the number one priority in all decisions made and he believes the route taken to cover the equity costs would not impact that quality of care.
He pointed to last year’s streamlining of their administration—which saw the loss of five positions—which was not about slashing and burning, but ensuring the best people were in the right positions and redistributing responsibilities to be better stewards of their resources.
However, Henri Giroux, President of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 146, remains unconvinced that patient care won’t be effected.
“We tried to find other avenues to avert the impact on staff—one of which was to increase the levies of the municipalities to cover the cost,” Giroux said. The other would have been to partner with the union and to lobby the Province to cover the costs.
But Lowery stated to make up the $587,000 would have required a 20 per cent increase to all associated municipalities—a request he said the board was not willing to make.
They said the layoffs are expected be in effect on July 14. Seven of the positions being effected are unionised, Giroux said, but the impact on those positions is still being discussed. However, he expects some of them to be completely cut, putting more pressure on the remaining staff along with overall reduction in hours for other positions.
“We believe the effected jobs and reduction of hours are going to have a negative impact on the residents there,” Giroux said.