Many of you may have heard recently of the passing of Bill 9 in the Alberta Legislature. I would like to draw attention to this development and its significance. This Bill, known as the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act (here), temporarily suspends arbitration processes and wage reopeners scheduled for this summer and fall, that should normally occur under provisions of numerous existing collective agreements negotiated in good faith, between public sector employers and unions. Bill 9 represents direct interference by the Alberta government in public sector collective bargaining in this province. It very likely violates employees’ Charter rights, and is also likely to be challenged in the courts on this and other bases by Alberta labour organizations, including the United Nurses of Alberta and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
As Bill 9 is a very serious matter at the provincial as well as local levels, the AASUA is: 1) working with the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) to which we belong, in pursuing this issue directly with the Alberta government; 2) through CAFA, is reaching out to other Alberta public sector
With respect to AASUA, the collective agreement between our union and the employer does not contain a wage reopener clause, nor related arbitration clauses, and it ends on June 30, 2020, beyond the mandated period of Bill 9. As a result, our union is not directly affected at this time. However, additional legislation beyond Bill 9 could affect our union in the future. In addition, we must support the principles of good faith bargaining, and the government should not be interfering in these processes. I will provide updates with respect to developments related to this important matter.
Information pickets and protests are organized, or in the process of being organized by organized labour in the province. The most immediate occurs this Monday, July 15, at the University Hospital, described below:
The University of Alberta Hospital local unit Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) members are planning to do an information picket during the Health Minister's visit to the University of Alberta Hospital on Monday, July 15th from 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to protest the passing of Bill 9. Bill 9 impacts approximately 180,000 public-sector workers across Alberta and seeks to delay the wage re-openers that HSAA and other unions negotiated in good faith during their last rounds of bargaining. We must stand up in solidarity against these efforts to undermine our rights under Alberta's labour laws and the Constitution of Canada.
The rally will be taking place along 112 Street near Tim Hortons and Wendy's, east side of the hospital.
AASUA members are free to participate in the info picket on their breaks, lunches, days off or on other employer-approved leave. AASUA will not be able to cover any expenses for this event.
More details are available on the Facebook event page here:
Further actions and information pickets are planned for additional dates this summer, particularly by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). Please note the dates below and that details are yet to be determined.
Fri Jul 19 - Edmonton General info picket 11 am - 1 pm
Fri Jul 19 - Royal Alexandra Hospital/ Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Info picket on 111 ave between both sites 11 am - 1 pm
Wed Aug 7 info picket, Edmonton location TBD 12 - 1 pm.
Wed Aug 14 info picket, Edmonton location TBD 12 - 1 pm.
Wed Aug 21 info picket, Edmonton location TBD 12 - 1 pm.
Wed Aug 28 info picket, Edmonton location TBD 12 - 1 pm.
Thu Aug 29 - Capital Care Edmonton info picket, possibly at Capital Care head office.
I will provide updates as more information is known.