Anti-labour legislation introduced by the Redford Government this afternoon, while aimed principally at the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, has serious implications for all public sector unions, including United Nurses of Alberta.
About 500 public service union members and their supporters rallied against Bills 45 and 46 on short notice today at the Legislature.
Under Bill 46, if AUPE and the province cannot reach a settlement by Jan. 31, the government will impose its final offer made to AUPE last Friday, including a wage freeze for two years followed by 1 per cent increases in each of the following years. There would also be an $875 lump sum payment in the second year.
This allows the government to circumvent the law requiring it to settle the negotiations with AUPE through binding arbitration, a process that had been scheduled to begin in February.
Bill 45, meanwhile, contains provisions that would impose extremely heavy penalties, in some cases amounting to millions of dollars, on public service unions and individual members that strike or threaten to strike.
UNA is concerned that the effect of these bills will be to make it unlikely Alberta Health Services and other employers will be motivated to negotiate in good faith.
The UNA negotiating committee is examining the bills in detail. The full implications for UNA members in Alberta will be summarized and reported to members as soon as possible.