The United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) have filed a complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board in relation to ongoing bargaining with Alberta Health Services.
The union is currently seeking an order directing Alberta Health Services to “bargain in good faith as required by law,” according to a release from the UNA.
The complaint comes days after the Government of Alberta announced a changed position with regards to public-sector wage arbitration, from “no increase for 2019, to an average two per cent reduction for collective agreements.”
Minister of Finance Travis Toews said Tuesday that “the revised position comes after government took the time to fully assess Alberta’s economic situation, including findings of the MacKinnon panel report, which recommended public-sector wages be brought in line with comparable provinces to correct overspending and sustain high-quality services for Albertans.”
The complaint by the UNA says that the government is bargaining in bad faith by abandoning their previous position immediately prior to the interest arbitration.
“Employers cannot legally move backward on bargaining positions previously tabled in negotiations, particularly as they are sitting on an accumulated surplus of more than $1.3 billion,” explained UNA Labour Relations Director David Harrigan in the release.
“Since we believe the new demands put forward by the government yesterday and passed on by the employer are the result of illegal bargaining in bad faith, that question needs to be resolved before the arbitration hearing is scheduled to take place on Nov. 22,” he said.
The UNA represents more than 30,000 Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, and allied health-care workers in Alberta, a significant majority employed in the public sector.