What is a union?
Unions are made up of employees who have joined together to deal with employers as a group about issues like wages, benefits and conditions of work. When an effective bargaining relationship is established with an employer, both employees and employers benefit. Employees negotiate with the strength of numbers behind them. Employers gain the benefit of a stable labour relations environment.
AUPE members enjoy:
- Job protection
- More money with better extended health benefits
- Generous vacation benefits
- Access to more education courses, conferences and meetings, than non-union employees
When working people choose to join the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, they are joining the largest and most effective union in Alberta. AUPE has over 250 bargaining units negotiating collective agreements on behalf of its members. AUPE also ensures that fair and reasonable conditions won in past negotiations remain in force.
Collective agreements are the legally binding contracts between a group of workers (the union) and an employer, outlining the benefits agreed upon by both parties during the bargaining periods.
Collective agreements set out such things as:
- Guaranteed wages and overtime pay
- Sick leave and long-term disability insurance
- Layoff and recall rights
- Health benefits, dental plans and general insurance
- Maternity, parental and adoption leave
- Vacations and working hours
How AUPE is financed
AUPE is financed by all members who enjoy the benefits of a collective agreement and union representation. Each member pays 1.25% of their base salary to AUPE in the form of tax-deductible union dues (dues are not paid on overtime or premium payments). This rate may only be amended by a two-thirds vote of the delegates at the annual convention. The democratically elected delegates that are sent to convention determine how AUPE’s money will be spent. Between conventions, the Provincial Executive monitors spending, and financial statements are available to all members for their review upon request.
How AUPE protects you
In addition to the pay, job security and other benefits set out in AUPE’s collective agreements, this union is ready to represent you in every way.
AUPE’s goal is to have union stewards on all job sites. Stewards are union activists who are trained to help union members resolve a wide range of problems and issues with their employer. Your union steward is your first line of defense if you ever have a problem related to your employment. Union stewards are prepared to help you if you feel you have been the victim of harassment, unfair discipline or if the employer has been ignoring the provisions of the collective agreement to deny you things to which you are entitled. Get to know your union stewards and don’t hesitate to bring your concerns to them. This is your right under all AUPE contracts. In fact, if you have any questions about your collective agreement, your steward is your first source of information.
Often, union stewards can resolve workplace problems with ease. But if a problem should prove to be more difficult, the steward has the option of bringing in an AUPE Membership Services Officer to help deal with the situation. AUPE’s collective agreements provide specific steps for filing a formal grievance. Depending on the nature of the grievance and your status as an employee, the final step is arbitration before a single arbitrator or a board. If that happens, both sides of the dispute are heard by a third party, and the decision handed down is binding on union and management alike.