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Special Areas Board 118/020

AUPE files bad faith bargaining complaint against Special Areas Board 

Jan 07, 2021

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After nearly two years of delays, Alberta’s Special Areas Board has come back to the table and substantially rolled back their proposal from September of 2019. In our last proposal, your negotiations team merely asked for what they were offering then (in September of 2019). Now, due to the substantial reductions, AUPE has filed a bad faith bargaining complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB), which was accepted. The Employer must respond by January 19, 2021. 
You’ve waited long enough for a fair collective agreement. None of us can afford to play the employer’s games, especially when they keep changing the rules and shifting the goal posts.  
Back in September of 2020 your negotiations team came back to the table in good faith willing to exempt two classifications from the bargaining unit and sign an agreement with the monetary items the employer proposed.  
Their initial proposal included language that would remove a number of you from the bargaining unit, which would mean loss of union representation and your bargaining rights. We told the Special Areas Board we would take their wage offers and the negotiated language, but not at the cost of our bargaining unit strength. 
After two months of sitting on our offer, the employer finally responded. They rejected the offer, demonstrating just how committed they are to dividing and conquering our team, and came back with an even worse counter-proposal: 

  • A 3% wage rollback in year 3 
  • Removal of all compensation items (Flexible spending account increases, grid increases, and a lump sum payment for all full-time, wage and seasonal staff). 

In other words, they went back on their own salary offers, scrapping the compensation boosts they tabled, and replaced the wage freeze in 2021 with a significant rollback. Did they actually think their staff would accept such an insulting offer after dragging us through two years of stress and anxiety?  
This employer has proven it's inconsistent and unpredictable. As a result, simply renewing the collective agreement so we can live to fight another day is our priority, and we even reduced the lump sum payments to achieve this, but they insisted on reducing the compensation package they offered to nearly ZERO.  
We responded with an offer, similar to the one we made in September 2020, reducing the lump sum payment and gave the employer until Dec. 11 to respond to us. 
As our complaint is processed at the Labour Board we want to remind the employer this battle isn’t over. The Special Areas Board seems to forget that nothing is settled until we vote and ratify the collective agreement, and we’re not signing anything that doesn’t improve the working conditions of our members. 
This last year has been more challenging than ever. Emotionally and financially, it’s hit Albertans hard. Some of us have partners who lost their jobs. Others of us are parents, supporting our families. And all of us are everyday Albertans, trying to serve the public while protecting ourselves during the pandemic - we deserve an agreement that helps us do both. We must hold the Employer accountable for making an offer and pulling it while proposing a 3% roll back.  
Paulette Pratt or 403-664-0549 
Clint Nicholson or 403-854-1056 
Robin Lacelle or 403-363-9855 
Christian Tetreault, negotiator 
Dave Malka, organizer 
Celia Shea, communications 

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