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Following meetings on Sept. 25 and 26 at AUPE headquarters in Edmonton, your bargaining committee reached a three-year tentative agreement, from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020, with Alberta Health Services.

Your committee is recommending acceptance of this agreement.

Negotiations over the past year-and-a-half with the employer have been challenging, but through it all, your committee pushed hard for a collective agreement that reflects your worth and respects you for the important work you do every day to provide the best quality health care to all Albertans.

*Wages: *

One of the biggest challenges was dealing with the “zero mandate” on wages brought forward by the employer. AHS was unwavering on this mandate, and while this tentative agreement includes wage freezes for 2017 and 2018, we’re pleased to go to a wage reopener in January 2019, before any other health-care union in the province.

Your committee feels there is mounting economic evidence to warrant a wage increase and we will push hard to achieve that early next year.

Language improvements:

We’re pleased to report this tentative agreement does include groundbreaking language that will improve and protect your work life.

This agreement includes the best job security language we’ve ever negotiated with AHS. These provisions will protect your job against any contracting out and guarantees you will not lose your Full Time Equivalent for the life of the agreement. This language is enshrined in the agreement and cannot be changed, regardless of which political party is in power.

We have also achieved benefits that treat us with greater equity among other bargaining units within AHS, gender-neutral language, and updates to the Leave of Absence language that will allow for domestic violence, citizenship ceremony and other leaves.

The agreement also sees an increase to the health flex spending account, from $1,000 to $1,100; an increase to banked overtime and a workload appeal process, which gives members the ability to address ongoing workload issues.

Recent changes to Occupational Health and Safety and Employment Standards laws have also been applied to our collective agreement.

Voting:

While your committee is recommending members vote in favour of this tentative agreement, ultimately the choice is yours. By voting in the ratification process outlined below, you can have your say. Please vote.

If you vote in favour, this tentative agreement will take effect. If you vote against, we will be at a stalemate. It will mean we continue to negotiate the Essential Services Agreement (ESA), which is needed before a strike or employer lockout can occur. That could take months, or longer. Once an ESA is reached the bargaining committee could call a strike vote.

A no vote could also mean we enter voluntary mediation, which means AHS and AUPE would both have to agree to participate. There would be no pressure to agree to anything in mediation, and any gains we achieved over that last year-and-a-half of bargaining could be lost.

Your bargaining committee thanks you for the patience, support and participation you’ve shown throughout the bargaining process.

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of your bargaining committee with any questions you may have on the tentative agreement.

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