Thousands of AUPE members, your working people, including health care workers, child and youth care counsellors, court support workers, Human Services workers, municipal recreation staff, social workers, psychology assistants and psychologists, school aides and support workers and many others are committed to delivering the essential public services that Alberta children rely on every day.
Support staff at Lethbridge College will hold an information picket on Thursday, Nov. 20 to protest their employer’s demand to freeze their wages for three years.
The picket will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the college’s main entrance, 3000 College Dr. S.
Media are invited to attend.
“A wage freeze is completely unreasonable in light of settlements at other post-secondary institutions in the province,” said Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, Vice-President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the 300 workers. “It’s also unfair, given that inflation is expected to be around 6.5 per cent over the next three years. A wage freeze would effectively be a pay cut.”
The employees, whose last contract expired on June 30, were in collective bargaining with the college, but the employer has refused to budge from its demand to freeze wages.
AUPE applied for third-party mediation to break the impasse. When mediation failed, AUPE applied for binding arbitration.
“We’re holding this information picket to show the employer that we expect an equitable settlement,” said Darren Gangur, a membership services officer with AUPE. “We’re not asking for anything unreasonable. We just want fairness.”
Lethbridge College’s demand flies in the face of recent settlements at other post-secondary institutions in the province. Support staff at NAIT and SAIT, for example, reached agreements in the spring that closely reflect the Government of Alberta’s new contract with its employees.
SAIT’s collective agreement, which expires June 30, 2017, will see support staff receive a retroactive lump sum payment of $1,400 (prorated for part-time and casual employees) in the first year, a two-per-cent wage increase in July 2014, a 2.25-per-cent increase in July 2015 and a 2.5-per-cent increase in July 2016.
Rusznak pointed out: “the college’s own annual reports show that it has maintained operating surpluses for the past five years. The employer’s pleas of poverty ring hollow.”
EDMONTON – The president of Alberta’s largest union called on the Prentice government to ensure all Albertans have fair access to public services and that those services have secure funding.
Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the government’s 22,000 front-line employees, was in the legislature this afternoon to hear the government’s throne speech, the first under newly-elected Premier Jim Prentice.
“Premier Prentice says that under his leadership, Alberta is under new management,” said Smith. “We hope this means he and his cabinet will ensure all departments have adequate staffing and resources to keep pace with Alberta’s growing population.
“We look forward to working with Premier Prentice,” said Smith. “We are always willing to sit down and have an open, respectful dialogue with the government.
“Since the spring, the government has taken steps to repair its relationship with AUPE. We welcome the change in tone and approach, but there is still work to be done to re-establish working relationships across all departments.
“AUPE’s main priority when working with the government,” said Smith, “is advocating for the front-line services Albertans rely on and ensuring the staff who deliver them have the necessary support to do their jobs.
“Alberta’s population continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, while the number of front-line government workers fails to keep pace,” said Smith. “We’re hopeful this will be rectified under the new premier.”
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith: AUPE President: (780) 265-2294
Tyler Bedford, AUPE communications officer: (780) 298-7626
AUPE Local 009 Chair, Penny Bates, addressed the large crowd gathered Nov. 7 in Red Deer to celebrate the decision to keep Michener Centre open. The event, hosted by AUPE Local 009, was a thank you to the volunteers, families, community members and all who helped fight to keep Michener Centre open for more than 100 profoundly disabled Albertans who have called it home for decades. The 18-month long Keep Michener Open campaign, which successfully pushed back against the Redford government’s decision to suddenly close Michener, gathered exceptional support from communities all over Alberta. The Prentice government announced Michener Centre would not close on Sept. 19.