ALRB wants to expedite health bargaining units

Legal challenge by CUPE forces delay until after May 19 hearing.

Edmonton (8 April 2009) - The Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) wants to expedite the transition of thousands of health care workers into four province-wide bargaining units, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) and other unions have been advised by board officials.

This includes placing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel under a new "singular structure," HSAA says.

"Health Sciences was pleased to hear a strong message from labour board officials that efforts are going to be made to expedite the process on behalf of the members that will be impacted by this transition," says Scott Palmer, HSAA representative.

HSAA called previously for a "expeditious decision" from the ALRB regarding the transfer of union representation for approximately 1,000 EMS personnel, as well as for hundreds of other members it expects to inherit during the transition process.

However, a legal delay has arisen because of a challenge by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to the order to proceed with the transfer. The order was made in March by Employment and Immigration Minister Hector Goudreau. The challenge is based on "issues flowing from regulations" and will be heard on May 19, HSAA notes.

"While we’re aware of the need for some finality regarding this issue, these delays are out of our hands," says HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann. "As we understand, CUPE intends to challenge the ministerial order, and I assume the decision of the ALRB. Therefore, we will continue to respect their legal right to do so."

In the meantime, employees will continue to be covered by both their current collective agreement and union. HSAA will continue to post updates on the health care transition to the union's website, as they become available.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE