“Impossible:” Alberta United Nurses and AHS far apart as negotiations in collective bargaining begin

Alberta United Nurses.

United Nurses of Alberta is asking for a two percent increase in each of the two years and an improvement in the language of the contract, as the union says Alberta Health Services is asking for a wage freeze over the next four years and reductions in Premiums and subsidies.

The union said in a press release on Wednesday night that AHS seeks to eliminate designated rest days for part-time employees and pay premiums for a variety of employees based on their education. The union said AHS is also asking for the ability to make part-time employees work full-time and the ability to move employees to multiple workplaces at the employer’s will.

Nurses would also face a slower movement in the salary scale, large cuts in overtime pay and the elimination of monthly car allowances under the AHS proposal, the union said.

“It’s very disappointing, immensely disappointing,” said UNA president Heather Smith. “We have been experiencing incredible problems due to lack of staff, unpublished positions, missing positions, so the workplace has become incredibly difficult and increasingly insecure for patients and providers.”

In a statement provided to Postmedia, AHS said its proposal aligns compensation with the economic realities facing Alberta.

“Our proposal reflects the need to align compensation more closely with comparable provinces, while ensuring that employees receive a fair, competitive and fiscally responsible payment,” AHS spokesman Kerry Williamson said in an email.

The UNA says that the proposal has nothing to do with Alberta’s economic position, but is designed to put Alberta nurses at the bottom of what is called the Ontario-West Standard.

“They say we must return to a standard that does not exist in this province since 1990,” said Smith. “These are cherry selection provisions in our contract that they consider superior to the comparatives they choose to look at, and they say,” We want them to be at the end. “

Smith also said the union, which represents 30,000 registered nurses in Alberta and psychiatric nurses from AHS, Covenant Health, Lamont Health Center and The Bethany Group, will also file bargaining charges in bad faith against Health Minister Tyler Shandro for the statements He has done on social networks. .

Smith said that optimistic negotiations can always achieve a resolution, but he held firm that it would not happen under current conditions.

“An agreement under these terms and conditions is impossible,” said Smith. “This is clearly not only bad news for the members we represent, but I am sure it is indicative of what all public health workers can expect when they go to the negotiating tables.”

Last week, an arbitrator ruled that teachers and nurses would not receive a salary increase under their current contracts.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for January 30 and 31.

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