Valley View Villa had a greater staffing level on their payroll than was covered by the province, which ultimately created a deficit situation, says CUPE National Representative Peter Baxter.
As a result the Riverton-based nursing home’s administration is now in discussions with the union about staffing levels in an attempt to bring them to a level funded by the province.
“The union just has no idea how it was allowed to get this far,” Baxter said in an interview Tuesday.
While he couldn’t give an exact number of employees affected he said the reduction in hours will impact every department.
Based on the fact that the deficit was so large, Baxter said he believes the Department of Health couldn’t have known about the problem and wonders if it is happening elsewhere.
“If they were aware one would have thought they would have stepped in before it became catastrophic,” he said.
Every nursing home in the province, whether it is public or private, is faced with restrictive budgets, he said. “Everyone of them is just eking by.”
If the administration doesn’t have a firm grasp on managing those slim resources, he said it can have detrimental effects.
“There is absolutely no room for error in any of the facilities in the province.”
The union, which represents about 140 people who work at Valley View Villa, said that last month, the current administration contacted CUPE representatives, asking to discuss financial issues at the long-term care home.
CUPE representatives have since met with the employer to ensure that downsizing and layoffs were only implemented when there was no alternative through mitigation and Baxter said that talks are continuing to take place between the administration and the union.
“We hope that the province will work to ensure better oversight of budgets for public health care facilities, so workers and residents are not faced with this type of staff layoff again.