Amanda Whillans

Year: 2019
Location: Edmonton
Profile:  Amanda Whillans is a healthcare aide in a Cold Lake assisted living home where a bitter strike occurred in 2017. An activist in AUPE, Local 47, Chapter 10, she provides the background to that strike. Whillans is a lifelong resident of Cold Lake. After high school, she worked in an independent living seniors’ lodge where she became a CUPE shop steward. She then worked at the Cold Lake hospital where she received training as a medical device sterilization technician. 
          Whillans joined Points West assisted living in 2013. Concerns about short staffing, and insufficient training and orientation led to the 2017 strike. Whillans provides disturbing details of how the understaffing and poor training produced sub-standard care for residents. The health and safety of residents and staff alike was compromised. The strike emboldened staff to be more demanding of a safe and compassionate environment for both residents and workers. Whillans explains from her experience of both sectors why public healthcare is superior to private healthcare.
Keywords: Assisted living; Chemicals in workplace; Health care aide; Medical device sterilization; Points West strike; Staff training and orientation; Understaffing and safety of residents and staff; Vulnerable seniors. 
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See also: AUPE; CUPE; Health & Safety; Women and Work