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EDMONTON – President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Guy Smith said Bill 4, An Act to Implement a Supreme Court Ruling Governing Essential Services, tabled this afternoon, recognizes public-sector workers’ fundamental right to strike and is a positive step toward levelling the playing field for employees at the bargaining table.

“This is new territory in labour relations in Alberta and heralds a shift in the legal rights of AUPE members,” said Smith.

“Our union was instrumental in arguing for updated labour laws at the Supreme Court and through our own application at the Court of Queen’s Bench over the past few years,” Smith said.

Provincial governments were compelled to amend labour laws as a result of decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada and the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench last year to recognize and protect the Charter rights of public-sector workers, including the right to strike.

“The goal of collective bargaining is never job action, but to arrive at a fairly negotiated agreement. This legislation should encourage that kind of fair negotiation.

“We will analyze Bill 4 in detail. The government has indicated further review of provincial labour laws are coming and we look forward to participating in those reviews,” said Smith.

AUPE is currently in large rounds of bargaining that will be directly affected by this legislation.

Ten of thousands of front-line AUPE members in all sectors enter into bargaining this year and next year. This legislation will have a significant impact on those negotiations as well.

AUPE is Alberta’s largest union with more than 87,000 members who work in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

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For more information:

Guy Smith, AUPE president: 780-265-2294

Tyler Bedford, AUPE senior communications coordinator: 780-930-3406

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