Approximately 750 employees at laboratories across central and northern Alberta voted last summer to join the province's most progressive health care union.
Edmonton (5 March 2009) - The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) may seek the help of a mediator to negotiate a first contract with DynaLIFE Dx, the private company that operates 27 medical laboratories across central and northern Alberta.
An overwhelming majority of the company's 750 employees voted last summer to join HSAA, the province's most progressive health care union. It was the largest certification vote in the union's 35-year history.
Since that time, the company has resorted to stalling tactics at the bargaining table, refusing to discuss key issues with the union and misinforming employees about the state of negotiations.
"To put it mildly, the recent e-mail message sent from DynaLIFE is inaccurate and misleading," the union says in a detailed statement posted on its website.
"The message is correct in that only non-monetary proposals have been tabled so far. Your bargaining committee presented a set of proposals which is relatively standard in collective agreements, including many first collective agreements. In good faith bargaining scenarios these proposals do not typically present difficulty or delay in the bargaining process, and the parties are able to quickly move on to important monetary proposals."
However, DynaLIFE has so far tabled only a few proposals, including a lengthy management rights clause and a one-sided "Discrimination" clause (as opposed to "No Discrimination"). Company demands also include a no strike or lockout clause.
"This company is spending a large amount of money in legal assistance," HSAA adds.
"It appears to be a large amount of money directed at restricting or eliminating many of the essential employee rights which are enjoyed by your colleagues in collective agreements with other employers.
"It is not money which is being spent with your interests at heart. It is money which would be better spent in hiring medical laboratory technologists or laboratory assistants or transcriptionists in DynaLIFE.
"Ask yourself why this kind of assistance is needed by DynaLIFE. If there was a will by DynaLIFE to reach a fair and reasonable agreement, this could be done quickly and easily with HSAA and your bargaining committee without the need for this kind of expenditure."
As a result, HSAA says it has reached a "point of frustration following repeated and futile efforts" to engage in serious negotiations with the company.
"With your interests in mind, and in the interest of time, during which you (not DynaLIFE) stand to lose money, your committee has decided to look seriously at mediation in order to involve an objective third party," HSAA says.
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