March 23, 2010 16:04 ET

SEIU-West: Press Release

KINDERSLEY, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - March 23, 2010) - On Tuesday 16 March 2010 workers at the Caleb Village Retirement Community, an assisted care facility in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, were shocked to discover that one of their long time co-workers, Valerie (Val) Lafortune had been fired from her position as a Shift Supervisor in the Housekeeping Department for talking to a Union.

"In Saskatchewan every worker still has the right to organize." said John Benoit, Director of Organizing for SEIU-West. "It is confusing how the Caleb Group with three other unionized facilities, in Regina, Moose Jaw and Swift Current would fire someone in Kindersley for talking to the very same Union."

"My last review was a couple of weeks ago and it was high and I even filled in for my manager when she went on vacation" said Val "But when she called me in the office and told me I had to go, she couldn't look me in the eye or tell me why... and so I knew she heard that I was talking to the Union."

The Caleb Group offers independent retirement living rental units at its eight facilities in Saskatchewan and they have plans and approval to build several more. The Caleb Village in Kindersley is the first of their facilities to offer residents the option to purchase their suite.

"We have recently developed a new and innovative model for smaller markets" Caleb president Darrell Remai told the crowd at a December public meeting in Moosomin, SK "The first model of this type opened in June in Kindersley and has been an outstanding success."

It is estimated that since the Caleb Village Kindersley opened its doors in 2009 it has experienced a near 90% staff turnover rate. Val was one of only two remaining original staff since the facility opened it doors. "Stability is important to the residents..." said Val "They like to see the same faces every day, they don't like it when it's always new people."

SEIU-West is planning an information picket to protest the unjust firing of longtime employee Val Lafortune, for talking to a Union, Thursday 25 March 2010 at 15:00 in front of the Caleb Village Kindersley, 60 Stevenson Cr., Kindersley, SK. The picket will bring together members of SEIU-West and representatives of other Saskatchewan Unions. Interviews will be available at that time.

SEIU-West represents over twelve thousand (12,000) members across the province of Saskatchewan of which approximately eleven thousand are health care providers within acute care, long term care and home care sectors.

Contact Information