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Time for Action June Town Halls - All details

Bargaining 2024

By Maureen Mariampillai, Communications Staff

Oct 11, 2023

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AUPE prepares for the largest round of negotiations the province has ever seen

AUPE President Guy Smith sends out a rally cry to energize the troops: 

"Never before have we prepared like this for bargaining! Focused, determined, and with all AUPE sectors and departments working in coordination. 2024 will be OUR year of bargaining." 

Over 81,000 AUPE members will come face-to-face with their employers at the bar­ gaining table in 2024, including the several thousands working for the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. The time to prepare is right now. 

“Members are going to need to speak up, now more than ever, to pressure their employers to accept our proposals. There is power in numbers and that’s ultimately what it’s going to take to reach a fair deal.”
Guy Smith 2023

Guy Smith, President

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"We must prepare to stand in solidar­ity for jobs, working conditions, and pay increases," says Smith. 

Government of Alberta workers, such as trades workers, conservation workers, social services workers, corrections, sheriffs, as well as administrative and support service workers—many of whom are women and racialized workers—already know what we’re up against with this government. 

Members have endured budget cuts, layoffs, contracting out of public services, and other government actions that undermine workers’ rights. That’s why AUPE is already taking steps to push our aggressive demands forward. 

“It’s our job to protect our members, their rights and collective agreements, as well as protect the services Albertans rely on,” says Smith. “These are our guiding principles.” 

Alberta’s population, currently 4.7 million, is expected to surpass the five-million mark later this decade—possibly as early as 2025. By 2031, seniors are expected to make up a larger share of the population than children under the age of 15. This demographic shift will create a much larger demand for health care, assisted living, and seniors housing. 

That means we must urgently bargain for long-term, evidence-based solutions for workers whose bosses subject them to impossible workloads and short staffing, which started long before the pandemic. 

“When we met the government at the bargaining table in 2020, we were up against their ideological commitment to attack us and the work we do,” says Smith. “We can expect to see more of the same this time around. 

“Members are going to need to speak up, now more than ever, to pressure their employers to accept our proposals. There is power in numbers and that’s ultimately what it’s going to take to reach a fair deal.” 

Bargaining conferences and orientation 

We may say governments are “in power,” but the real power is in our hands. We must not only build workplace power, but also organize and mobilize our friends, families, and neighbours, because better collective agreement means a better quality of life for you and stronger public services for all Albertans. 

Activism is at the heart of what we do and is directly tied to our success in bargaining. Your commitment to supporting the efforts of your negotiating team will be key to reaching a deal that reflects your sacrifices, struggle, and desire for change. 

“I know how dedicated our members are to the work they do and the communities they serve,” Smith says. “Sucessful negotiations will come out of AUPE members’ struggle and solidarity.” 

To make sure you receive important bargaining updates, training opportunities, and resources, please make sure AUPE has your up-to-date contact information by visiting <courses are already underway to develop a collective negotiations strategy. Negotiating team members who have attended a conference or orientation session report feeling energized and confident in how to get results at the table. 

AUPE’s Education department has worked hard to support members with these bargaining conferences and the brand new orientation courses. Negotiating teams also have the full support of AUPE’s Vice-Presidents and resource staff in the Negotiations, Organizing, Essential Services, Communications, and Research departments. 

But successful bargaining does not come from the efforts of union electeds or staff: it comes from ordinary members building workplace power, and that’s something no one can do for you. Nor is bargaining just a job for your negotiating team. 

Your negotiating team is going to need each and every one of you to support them at the bargaining table. Negotiating a better collective agreement requires using the leverage built by a strong, well-organized bargaining unit. 

The best way to build support is through one-on-one conversations with your coworkers. As a union member and activist, your role is to find out what your coworkers are willing to fight for at the bargaining table. When we build workplace power, we show employers like the Government of Alberta that we are united and will not settle for less than we deserve. 

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