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Valley View deficit and layoffs spur Saturday information picket in Riverton

Peter Baxter, CUPE National Representative, at the information picket outside the Valley View River long-term care facility.
Peter Baxter, CUPE National Representative, at the information picket outside the Valley View River long-term care facility. - Fram Dinshaw

RIVERTON - Staff at the Valley View Villa long-term care facility in Riverton are sounding the alarm over layoffs they say were caused by a $1.5 million deficit incurred by their employ

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2330 and their supporters held an information picket outside the care home Saturday morning and are calling for both the provincial and municipal governments to examine Valley View’s financial situation.

“They’ve basically started downsizing and laying off staff throughout the home as a means of trying to make up for the budgetary shortfall,” said CUPE National representative Peter Baxter, who is based in New Glasgow.

2330 Local’s president Rose Best said that employees including a cook had already been laid off and other cuts were likely coming up in the near future.

“The morale is very poor at the worksite, the workers are worried,” said Best. “They’re worried about themselves, they’re worried about the residents and who’s going to care for them when these cuts start to trickle down and eventually there’s more and more laid off.”

CUPE previously voiced concern in October that the Nova Scotia Department of Health was unaware of problems affecting Valley View.

Then, the union called on Minister of Health Randy Delorey to outline what action the province would take to protect other care homes from similar such disruptions to patient care.

In September, Valley View’s administration contacted CUPE representatives to discuss financial issues at the care home.

CUPE was told that Valley View’s previous administration was staffed to a level not completely funded by the provincial government. This created a‎ deficit that grew over time.

Valley View said that restructuring was necessary to reach a staffing level the province would cover fully.

CUPE said that its representatives had since met with the employer to ensure that layoffs were only implemented when there was no alternative.

“A $1.5 million budget deficit doesn’t happen overnight,” said Baxter.

Local MLA Tim Houston, who said that both residents and community members were also concerned about the situation at Valley View, joined picketing staff members.

Houston said that he was there to “listen to people, understand what’s happening and where we’re going to go from here.”

The News entered the care home to try and speak with Valley View’s management, but was told there was no one available on the weekend.

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