Redford should address real issues in the province like fixing the broken tax system and corporate giveaways instead of targeting hardworking public service workers.
Edmonton (28 Nov. 2013) - In the wake of the new restraint legislation introduced by the Alberta government, Elisabeth Ballermann, President of the Health Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) has issued a memo to all members explaining the implications.
Two bills look to punish union members and restrict wages for some public service workers
The salary restraint act applies only to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), not to HSAA/NUPGE or any other unions. The services continuation act applies to 100,000 unionized workers including members of HSAA/NUPGE, AUPE, United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and non-academic staff associations. It places stiffer penalties on unions and members who take part in illegal strikes.
While the salaries act does not affect HSAA/NUPGE members now, it sends a bad signal that this Progressive Conservative government is not willing to negotiate fairly with its workers. This is a fundamental blow to union rights.
Conservative government in Alberta has gone after the right to arbitration and threatens to impose collective agreements
The government has gutted the compromise of arbitration that somewhat balanced the removal of our right to strike. This should send a chill to all workers about a government that will bully whomever gets in its ideological way.
Legislating collective agreements is not the way to earn labour peace. It is not the way to earn the trust and respect of your valued employees. The only way to move ahead successfully is to negotiate fair collective agreements.
HSAA/NUPGE also disagrees with the need for stiffer penalties for unions and their members. Alberta already has tough laws to deal with this. The fact the government feels the need to do this shows that its relations with its workers are severely strained.
HSAA/NUPGE says the Premier should address the real issues in the health care system, rather than targeting valuable public service workers with unnecessary laws
Rather than attacking health-care professionals and other providers of vital services and blaming them for the government's own financial mess, Premier Redford should show real leadership and fix the broken revenue system that makes working Albertans pay through the nose while wealthy individuals and hugely profitable corporations are laughing all the way to the bank, thanks to years of tax cuts and royalty giveaways.
Ballerman thanked all the members of HSAA/NUPGE and other unions who turned out for the rally in freezing conditions today. She pledges the union and its members will continue to stand on guard against these attack on workers' rights.