AUPE Press Release - Mediator's Report

EDMONTON – More than 95 per cent of Alberta Union of Provincial Employees members employed in General Support Services for Alberta Health Services rejected mediator’s recommendations for the first post-transition collective agreement between AHS and 22,000 front line health care workers, more than 10,000 in clinical positions.

“The tremendous rejection of the mediator’s recommendations means we have entered a critical stage of negotiations with AHS. We need AHS to come back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair deal. If this fails, we must follow members’ wishes on the next steps to take, whatever those steps may be,” said AUPE President Guy Smith.

“It’s clear by the results of the vote, these AHS employees, who are the largest bargaining unit within AHS, do not feel valued by their employer,” said Smith.

GSS employees fight superbugs, manage health records, prepare meals, manage finances, maintain facilities, assist in therapy, sterilize surgical tools, assist pharmacists, provide security and much more.

“These employees are equal members of the health care team and they deserve to be treated with respect; without them the entire system of patient care would grind to a halt,” Smith added.

AUPE Negotiator, Kevin Davediuk, said AHS needs to understand that improving and stabilizing health care delivery requires AHS to attract and retain quality health care staff, especially in the face of a labour shortage.

“To improve stability and productivity, AHS needs to ensure the employees that make the system work feel valued for the work they do,” he said.

A workforce engagement survey conducted by AHS in 2010 showed just 35 per cent of respondents reported they were favorably engaged at work, falling far short of the 76 per cent national benchmark.

“What’s been proposed by the mediator is dangerous to the well-being of Alberta’s already fractured health care system,” said Davediuk. “Quality care for Albertans is at risk.”

“Some of our members concerns include recognition of the high cost-of-living in growing northern regions of the province, reasonable hours of work so they get the proper rest between shifts to perform at their best, a fair salary increase, and addressing unfair salary discrepancies AHS created when they amalgamated the health regions,” Davediuk said.

“These health care employees are your neighbors, your friends and your family. They want the same things all working people in Alberta want: quality health care and a decent standard of living,” said Davediuk.

“These employees are proud to serve Albertans’ health care needs, but they’re tired of being undervalued,” he added. “They deserve to be treated as equal members of the health care team.”

The GSS bargaining committee began bargaining with AHS, March 30, 2011, and following close to three difficult months of negotiations with the employer, filed for mediation in June.

Mediation dates were held in September and October 2011 with the mediator’s recommendations presented to the union in November.

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For more information, contact:

Guy Smith, President, AUPE, 780-930-3301 or 780-265-2294 (cellular phone)
Kevin Davediuk, Staff Negotiator, AUPE, 780-930-5216 or 780-729-7916 (cellular phone)
Tyler Bedford, Communications Officer, AUPE, 780-930-3406