New Horizons employees reject union

Staff at the Campbell River care facility voted throughout the day Monday

Health care workers at New Horizons have rejected rejoining the Health Employees Union.

Mike Old, spokesperson for the union, said he would not be disclosing actual numbers but said the vote was close.

“We lost the vote, we’re surprised,” Old said. “It was fairly close but at the end of the day, it’s a majority vote.”

Staff at the care facility voted throughout the day Monday on whether or not they wished to rejoin the union.

Shortly after Christmas, 120 employees at the care home were given surprise layoff notices following last summer’s sale of New Horizons to Park Place.

The new owner then gave notice to its employees in January that it would be contracting out care, cleaning and cooking services to Carecorp Senior Services.

Approximately half of the staff were re-hired by Carecorp but as non-union employees.

Old said New Horizons staff approached the union weeks ago regarding certification.

“There was a mix of old staff and new staff and that group sought the help of the union,” Old said. “A majority of the staff signed a union card indicating they wanted to be members of the union.”

The Hospital Employees Union filed an application with the Labour Relations Board two weeks ago and during a hearing last Friday, the labour board ruled that there was enough support from New Horizons staff to go ahead with a certification vote.

“When we made the application we had good support from both the workers who were originally part of the union and from the new workers,” Old said. “Sometime between now and then they changed their mind about wanting to join a union and we have to respect that.”

Old said that while the decision is disappointing, he’s hopeful it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road.

“We believe we’ll have another chance in the future,” Old said. “But we respect their decision and we wish them the best. At the end of the day, the choices are workers’ choices and they chose not to join the union. We’re disappointed but we know the workers are providing good support for their clients and their families.”