LETHBRIDGE – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has filed for mediation with the University of Lethbridge.
Following a year of intense bargaining, negotiations broke down Sept. 7 when the university submitted a number of unsatisfactory proposals.
“The university has shown itself unwilling to negotiate the issues that matter to our members,” said AUPE Vice-President Susan Slade. “There are approximately 500 AUPE members working the front lines at the University of Lethbridge, and they deserve a contract that reflects the value of their work.”
The current contract includes a wage top up for workers who take maternity leave and have been employed for over 12 months. However, new legislation allows workers to take maternity leave after 90 days of employment. The university is refusing to make the maternity wage top up available for workers who go on leave before the 12 months.
Additionally, members at the University of Lethbridge have been fighting for changes regarding sick leave, as workers over 65 are only permitted 22 sick days before they are forced to draw from their pension.
“Our members deserve a fair deal,” said Slade. “Right now, we feel the best way to get that is with the assistance of a mediator.”
The university also refused wage increases.
“The university accumulated a budgetary surplus of nearly $206 million in 2017, so why are they trying to nickel and dime their staff?” said Slade. “If they have the means to improve conditions for front line staff, who have endured increasingly difficult workloads, then that’s what they should do.”
AUPE is Alberta’s largest union, representing over 93,000 workers province-wide. Approximately 11,000 work in the education sector.
For more information:
Alexander Delorme, AUPE communications officer: 780-930-3333