Arbitrators reject UCP cuts, instead award wage raises
Ruling for post-secondary workers sets precedent for thousands in other sectors, says AUPE
EDMONTON – Workers at eight Alberta colleges will get a pay raise after a board of arbitrators ruled in their favour and rejected employer calls for wage cuts.
“These rulings back our argument that enough is enough, that public-service institutions should stop placing the burden of Jason Kenney’s budget cuts on the backs of hard-working Albertans,” says Bobby-Joe Borodey. “It also shows that these institutions can no longer claim poverty to cut worker salaries and jobs while they have large surpluses and pay high salaries for executives and managers.”
In eight separate wage-reopener decisions announced yesterday (Monday, Nov. 9), arbitrator David G. Tettensor wrote that “it is fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the public to award a one per-cent increase.”
All the colleges had sought to cut wages by two per cent for this year, the third year of the last collective-bargaining agreements, which expired on June 30, 2020. There were wage freezes for the first two years.
The ruling affects about 1,700 support service workers in the following institutions: Alberta University for the Arts (Calgary), Bow Valley College (Calgary), Grande Prairie College, Lethbridge College, Medicine Hat College, Olds College, Portage College and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
“When independent, unbiased experts looked at the UCP austerity approach, they rejected it,” says Borodey “The board saw through the government rhetoric and ruled on facts. It considered the economic conditions and government funding for colleges.”
Borodey adds: “Colleges play a vital role in our communities and our economy. They train people who create jobs. They train the people who work all those jobs that get created. And everyone working at those colleges spends money in their local communities. These colleges are imperative for Albertans get back to work after the economic collapse caused by the drop in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The union says these awards should set a precedent for wage-reopener negotiations in the public sector and private for-profit and not-for-profit health care.
Bobby-Joe Borodey is available for comment. For more information, contact Wayne Arthurson, Communications Officer, 780-432-1460.