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EDMONTON – Today the United Conservative Party government gave oral notice of Bill 9, the Public Sector Compensation Deferral Act, which Alberta Union of Provincial Employees president Guy Smith said is an assault on the free collective bargaining process and a violation of members’ Charter rights.

“The UCP government is directly interfering with the course of negotiations for approximately 70,000 AUPE members,” said Smith. “Bill 9 is an abuse of the legislative power of government and breaks legally binding contracts. If passed, it will deny workers their negotiated rights. That’s shameful.”

Arbitration for AUPE government services, Alberta Health Services nursing care and general support services members began on June 11. The bargained agreements state arbitration for the wage reopeners are to be held no later than June 30.

Last month, independent arbitrator Phyllis Smith denied the government’s request to delay arbitration, instead agreeing to uphold previously agreed upon terms of the collective agreements.

“We will explore all legal options available should this bill pass,” Smith said.

A number of other AUPE bargaining units in post-secondary education and government boards and agencies are scheduled to enter wage-reopener arbitration as well.

The bill is expected to be tabled in the legislature tomorrow.

AUPE is Alberta’s largest union with more than 95,000 members province-wide.

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For more information:

Tyler Bedford, AUPE senior communications officer: 780-298-7626