Sign in

Time for Action Rallies - All details

The bargaining town halls recap

Did you miss AUPE’s Time for Action bargaining town halls? No problem. Here’s what happened and what members are doing next.

Jun 27, 2024

By Jon Olsen, Communications Staff

Text only block

“The question is: Do you think you are worth more than 7.5% over four years?” 

Heads nod, slowly and silently, throughout the packed meeting room. 

AUPE Vice-President Curtis Jackson looks out over the crowd. “I’ll ask that again,” he says. “Do you think you are worth more than 7.5%?” 

Now the attendees let out a collective, “Yes, we are.” 

“One more time,” Jackson raises his voice. “Do you think you are worth more than 7.5%?!” 

The crowd erupts, loud and clear: “Yes!” 

In June, AUPE members held over 50 Time for Action bargaining town halls across the province. Scenes like this one played out every time. AUPE members know what we are worth, and it is a lot more than what our employers are offering. 

“AUPE members are the backbone of this province,” says AUPE President Guy Smith. “This government can’t stand without the labour we provide. AUPE members know what we are worth and it is time to make our employers know it, too. It’s time for action.” 

Each town hall was led by the vice-president assigned to its region: Sandra Azocar in the North-West; James Gault in the North-East; Bobby-Joe Borodey in Edmonton; Darren Graham in Central; Bonnie Gostola in Calgary; and Curtis Jackson in the South. 

Members focused on key bargaining issues, including better wages, working short, working conditions, and job security. 

Of course we focused on these issues—we experience them daily. 

We can’t afford what our employers are offering. 7.5% over four years leaves us further and further behind, buried by the rising costs brought on by inflation and price gouging. Staffing levels steadily decline, but workloads increase. No one has time for mental health and work-life-balance. The government has its eyes on privatizing public services, a direct threat to our jobs and livelihoods.  

But it is not just our employer who needs to hear this. Every AUPE member does, too. 

Not every member can make it to a meeting. That’s reality. Many AUPE members work shifts, nights, or have childcare needs that won’t allow them to attend a town hall. And some are forced to work two or more jobs because their employers won’t give them full time hours or the wages they deserve. 

We must take action to win what we deserve in bargaining, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure every single member knows that the time to take action is upon us. 

“You must have these conversations with your coworkers,” says Smith. “We need to take this message to every member on every worksite. The only way to successfully challenge the disrespect we are facing at the bargaining table is for all members to get on board and be ready for action.” 

Ready to rally? 

The Time for Action town halls wrap up at the end of June, but that doesn’t mean the  summer fun is over. AUPE members are planning rallies across the province that will culminate in two huge Edmonton and Calgary rallies in the fall. 

Rallies are a powerful tool in our toolbox, and they help us prepare in case we take more serious action. They show employers just how strong we are. But if we want all these rallies to be successful, we need every member to stand together. 

Watch your email inbox for rally information in the coming weeks. If you did not receive an email and text message about the town halls, it’s a good idea to update your contact information with AUPE at aupe.org/update-info 

Related articles