This is where you will find information for AUPE members for the upcoming provincial election. We’re providing some information on the issues below. Stay tuned for more as the election draws closer!
These are some of the priorities AUPE members will be considering in the 2019 provincial election to be scheduled between March and May of this year.
This information is not only to help you make an educated decision at the ballot box, but to consider the challenges we face no matter the election result. These concerns don’t end after the votes are counted, and we should also be preparing ourselves to challenge whichever party forms the government next year.
Our focus is on the words and actions of Alberta’s Governing New Democratic Party as well as the Official Opposition UCP. We are looking at their potential impacts on the work that you do, the services you provide, and your value as a worker.
The vast majority of AUPE members have their work in some way funded by the government of Alberta through their annual budgets. These budgets have direct impact on the services we provide, as well as our working conditions.
In the 2015 election, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives proposed a budget cut of $1 billion. It’s hard to imagine a cut that size not impacting front line services.
With Alberta’s first change in government in 44 years, we saw the $1 billion cut reversed by the New Democratic Party government. This move helped keep many AUPE members working and providing for their families during a tough recession.
This doesn’t mean everything has been fixed. AUPE members have faced challenges at the bargaining table, and have continued to work in strained and under-resourced environments.
The future of public service funding is concerning. The NDP government tabled a budget in 2018 that showed their plans for future budgets through to 2023. They are projecting that their future budgets will fail to meet funding pressures of Alberta’s growing population and rising inflation.
This is an effective cut, and would mean AUPE members will have to do more with less.
On the Official Opposition side, the United Conservative Party supports cutting taxes for the wealthiest Albertans and profitable corporations. Their approach to the budget would result in billions of dollars cut in one four year term. Cuts of this size are sure to impact the work AUPE members do.
AUPE believes that regardless of which party is in power, our government should be funding public services to at least meet population growth and inflation pressures. Alberta’s major parties need to do better and change their approach to funding the work that we do.
Canada prides itself on its compassionate health care system. Universal health care means that important services like child birth and heart surgery are provided for all of us regardless of our ability to pay. Patient need comes first.
At the same time, many aspects of our health care system remain privatized, from dental care to prescription drugs, and much of Alberta’s seniors care system.
Since the change in government, the Alberta NDP have reversed privatization that was planned for Edmonton laboratory services and hospital laundry services for Medicine Hat.
Seniors care privatization continues with millions of public dollars subsidizing private and for-profit long-term care centres. While the Alberta NDP promised to create 2,000 new public long-term care beds, only 345 have been announced.
The government has allowed exclusive and expensive private clinics to continue to charge thousands of dollars in membership fees for health services.
The Official Opposition UCP supports not only public subsidies for private care, but opening up our health care system to American style two-tier health care. This would drastically impact front line workers, while also impacting AUPE members who have to bargain for health benefits, and those who do not have benefits.
AUPE believes that changes and improvements to our health system should build on our values of a universal public system. More services like prescription drugs should be covered under the medicare umbrella. Regardless of who gets elected, our government must commit to preserving and improving public health care, and stop relying on private and for-profit providers.
Tens of thousands of AUPE members belong to modest but secure defined benefit pension plans – either the Local Authorities Pension Plan, or the Public Services Pension Plan.
These plans have been managed well after the 2008 stock market crash and have recently been able to reduce the premiums that members pay into the plans. The plans continued to maintain stable retirement benefits through the 2008 crash and the recent downturn in oil prices.
Despite this, AUPE members were forced to defend their pensions when then Premier Allison Redford tried to cut them in 2013. She tried to justify her proposals with misleading talk of unfunded liabilities in an aim to pit Alberta voters against public sector workers.
AUPE members spoke loud and clear about the value of their plans, and the need to improve how they are managed. We asked the government to adopt joint governance of the plans – this would give workers a seat at the table with our employers instead of leaving the plans under the control of the Minister of Finance.
Our voice was heard and in the fall 2018 Legislative session the law was updated so that by March 1, 2019 the pension plans will finally be under joint governance.
The Official Opposition are signaling a return to Redford era attacks on our pensions. “Unfunded liabilities” are again being used as justification for pension “reform”.
AUPE believes that our modest pensions should remain secure in a defined benefit plan, with workers having a seat at the table. AUPE members have been clear that they will oppose any attempt to cut these plans regardless of which party is in power.
Are you concerned about these issues? So are thousands of AUPE members. AUPE members engaged in a phone survey to fellow members throughout Alberta in September and October, 2018. What they heard from nearly 3,000 members was overwhelming agreement with AUPE on these issues, and they’re willing to do something about it.
AUPE will provide more information closer to the election on this page. We’ll need members like you to help challenge elected officials and campaigning politicians. They need to understand that the tens of thousands of public service workers in AUPE expect them to do better.