Employees at Maple City Retirement Residence in Chatham have ratified a new three-year collective agreement.

The retirement home employees, represented by Southwestern Ontario Healthcare and Service Workers Union, CLAC Local 303, recently voted unanimously to approve the contract.

“A unanimous acceptance of this voluntary settlement recognizes the good work of the union bargaining committee and of an employer willing to hear the concerns of its workers and hoping to address attraction and retention issues,” said CLAC representative Ryan Griffioen in a news release. “We hope more retirement home employers recognize that similar voluntary settlements are necessary to address the staffing crisis and general low morale in the industry.”

The contract includes a 5 to 6.5 per cent wage increase in the first year, and a 3 per cent increase in years two and three. The contract also included improvements to weekend premiums and the employees’ benefits coverage.

Maple City Residence employs 29 unionized healthcare aides, personal support workers, unregulated care providers, housekeeping and dietary aides, cooks, and maintenance staff.