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Spotlight on Finance

From Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jason Heistad

Oct 11, 2023

Strengthening our Union and Dues Increase

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AUPE members have strong and solid tradi­tions. The tradition of struggles and victories dates back to 1919, at the time of the Civil Association of Alberta. Since 1976, AUPE has been a force to be reckoned with. Time after time, AUPE has stood up to the provincial government and AUPE has prevailed. 

AUPE's unified work through its members has become stronger over the years. This demonstrated strength is what we do at AUPE. While sacrifices have been made and victories achieved, many more battles are on the horizon with the present government. Their aim appears to be the privatization and selling off of remaining public assets. 

Along with privatization comes the risk of losing additional hundreds if not thousands of jobs for AUPE members. To deter this government from ongoing financial impacts for members, we need to get creative at AUPE. Part of that creativity includes strengthening our dues to reinforce our financial resources to be able to respond and strike as needed. To that end, Provincial Executive had meetings earlier in 2023 to support this endeavour to strengthen our union. 

We, at Provincial Executive, went through a detailed overview of AUPE’s budget line items, including non-discretionary (constitutional) spending, mixed discretionary, and full discretionary funds. Provincial Executive debated at length the consequences and impacts to members if funding is reduced, including comparators on dues rates in other unions in Canada and full assessment of options. 

As part of strengthening our union, AUPE depends on its membership. AUPE exists because of members' contributions of dues which have not been raised since 1997. For this reason, there will be a proposed con­stitutional resolution, led and approved by Provincial Executive, regarding a small dues increase at the 2023 Convention. Effective July 1, 2024, regular members would pay dues of one point five (1.5%) percent of their salary or as approved for under Article 13.09 (1). 

I will finish by saying that an organization is only as good as the people it represents. AUPE has thrived all these years and should continue to do so, and this depends on our unified strength as members. The proposed increase is to continue supporting and strengthening our union. As a union in Alberta, we have grown significantly over the years, and as members we have gained a sense of our collective identity and awareness. We need to continue strengthening AUPE to best represent our members and their struggles with the present government and their employers. 

In Solidarity, 

Jason Heistad 
Executive Secretary-Treasurer 

Jason Heistad

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