Bargaining Update - GSS/ANC, September 2, 2015

On Sept. 1, the largest gathering of health-care groups in AUPE’s history met at union headquarters in Edmonton.

Bargaining committees representing more than 40,000 members employed with Alberta Health Services’ Auxiliary Nursing Care, General Support Services and Covenant Health ANC and GSS met to review the current state of bargaining with AHS and to discuss the groups’ unified next steps.

The lack of any real, meaningful mandate to bargain from AHS has led the largest of the three groups, AHS GSS, to arbitration. This group has been without a contract since March 2014.

Its sister group, AHS ANC, has been without a collective agreement since March 2015 and bargaining is heading down a path similar to the General Support Services. On Aug. 7, negotiations broke down and the union was forced to file for mediation citing lack of meaningful progress.

Covenant’s GSS is locked in mediation and its ANC have been making some strides toward achieving a fair agreement.

Moreover, the absence of direction from AHS has led to a severe clog in negotiations for an additional 7,000 AUPE members in continuing care.

The lack of directive from the employer has resulted in a strain on labour relations. This type of relationship undermines staff commitment and morale, which has a negative affect on the overall quality of health care in Alberta.

The groups will determine the best collective course of action given the current state of bargaining but are hopeful the new government will direct Alberta Health Services to approach collective bargaining in a productive, fair and timely way.