Support workers at the University of Lethbridge have voted to accept the terms for a new collective agreement proposed by a mediator.
The new deal will bring wage raises of 1.25 per cent on April 1, 2023, and 1.5 per cent on Dec. 1, 2023. There will also be another 0.5 per cent increase on Dec. 1, 2023, if certain economic measures in Alberta are met. The contract will expire on June 30, 2024.
“This has been a tough round of negotiations,” says Darren Graham, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents the workers. “Bargaining was hampered by the Alberta government imposing a tight mandate on post-secondary institutions across the province.”
The Finance Minister directed the government’s Provincial Bargaining Coordination Office (PBCO) to set the agenda for all bargaining with public-sector workers.
“The PBCO’s mandate for post-secondary employers was so restrictive that it didn’t give the employers the ability to negotiate in ways that suited their individual needs. This led to negotiations being harder and longer than necessary,” says Graham.
“Despite this, our negotiations team was able to get improvements in the collective agreement that will benefit workers. There will be new personal-leave days, improvements to the coverage of prescriptions, improved language on health and safety and a better workload-review process. We have also got job security for workers until March 31, 2023.”
The new agreement is in line with other contracts that have been signed in the post-secondary sector.
“We could have come to an agreement that worked for both sides much quicker without the PBCO,” says Graham. “This kind of interference is counter-productive.”
AUPE VP Darren Graham is available for interviews.
For information, please contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-831-4394.