AUPE reinstates bad faith bargaining complaint against AHS

EDMONTON– The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees reinstated a bargaining in bad faith complaint against Alberta Health Services last week for its potentially illegal bargaining approach for more than 25,000 front-line staff.

“The original complaint, which was filed with the Alberta Labour Relations Board in early 2015, surfaced from CEO Vickie Kaminski and her administration’s push to move collective bargaining backwards for General Support Services staff,” said AUPE President Guy Smith.

In January, AHS ordered its initial wage proposal of one per cent each year for three years, already far below economic indicators in health, be pulled from the table and replaced with zeros. Other non-monetary proposals were also removed.

“It’s an irresponsible and regressive bargaining approach that completely ignores the employer’s obligation to negotiate in good faith,” said Smith.

However, in May the union put its complaint on hold in light of a new provincial government and hopes the employer would approach labour relations with a refreshed mandate.

But ongoing issues with the AHS administration, including no directive to bargain, forced AUPE to reissue its initial submission with the addition of new complaints.

“AHS’s actions have driven down optimism on the front lines, which is very concerning and can destabilize the entire system. These employees play an important role in health care but that importance has so far failed to resonate with the employer and that’s not right.

“The situation is serious and it’s time the NDP government directs AHS to engage in fair and meaningful negotiations,” said Smith.

GSS employees clean surgical instruments, stock hospitals with supplies, prepare food, provide financial analysis, clean and sanitize areas, register patients, disinfect emergency rooms, provide security, maintain computer systems and much more.

AUPE is Alberta’s largest union with 89,000 members province-wide. More than half work in public, private and not-for-profit health care.

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For more information:

Guy Smith, AUPE president: 780-265-2294