Job Protection is temporary; we must prepare to fight!
As you know, last year we signed an agreement to extend the suspension of bargaining until March 31, 2021. Your GSS negotiating team, working with AUPE organizing staff, have been using this time to work on organizing members at worksites like St. Mary's in Camrose because the threat to your jobs and livelihoods hasn’t been removed; it’s only been paused.
Last year, Covenant Health made it clear that they will follow Alberta Health Services’ plans privatize the delivery of support services like laundry, food service and housekeeping. While you were going to work every day performing the vital work necessary to care for Albertans in the middle of a deadly pandemic, your employer continued to plot to out-source your jobs.
Jason Kenney’s reckless cuts to frontline services have already been felt across the province, particularly in rural Alberta. We understand that the province is going through a difficult time right now. Unfortunately, many of the problems Albertans are facing today have been caused or made worse by the decisions made by the provincial government. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, you and other front-line workers were already cautioning that more cuts to an already over-burdened system would turn a bad situation into a calamity.
When we exchanged bargaining proposals last year, it was clear that the employer was seeking massive concessions while your negotiating team submitted a full proposal that put job security and work-life balance first, as you asked through your bargaining survey.
Covenant Health’s proposals were full of rollbacks that would be devastating to workers and, ultimately, to patient care. They proposed a four year contract, including a 1% wage rollback in the first year followed by three years of zeroes. They want to remove the workload appeal process. They want to cut the window for weekend premium from 64 hours to 48 hours and take away your super-stats and floater days. They want to cut your shift differentials and premiums.
Last spring, AUPE reached out to Covenant Health to see if they would agree to provide more support and recognition for you to acknowledge everything you’re doing during the pandemic. They said “No”. Clearly, this employer want to be seen applauding its health care heroes everywhere but where it actually matters.
It’s important that we take this brief reprieve from bargaining to build our strength in every worksite across the province. Please share this update and talk with your co-workers about what you’re prepared to do to fight back against the upcoming cuts to jobs, wages, and benefits.
If you have co-workers who do not receive union updates, please refer them to this link to ensure we have their up-to-date contact information.
The past year has been difficult. If you experience anxiety or vulnerability due to traumatic or crisis events occurring at work, please remember that help is available. Please call AUPE’s Crisis Support Service at 1-844-744-7026. This service is available for members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Your negotiating team is hard at work preparing to return to the table in April. Please reach out if you have any questions or require more information.
Covenant Health GSS Negotiating Team
Lorie Christenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Corey Kucher, email@example.com
Christee Langkamp, firstname.lastname@example.org
AUPE Resource Staff
Chris Dickson, Negotiator - email@example.com
Madelaine Sommers, Organizer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Trevor Zimmerman, Organizer - email@example.com
Mimi Williams, Communications - firstname.lastname@example.org