Negotiating Team Recommends Acceptance of Proposed Mediated Settlement
When direct negotiations for a new collective agreement with the Government of Alberta (GOA) broke down last March, both sides agreed to seek the assistance of a mediator to resolve outstanding issues of contention through informal mediation.
After many months and sessions with the mediator, we have reached a proposed mediated settlement that your Government Services Bargaining Committee (GSBC) is unanimously recommending you vote in favour of.
As we have reported previously, your employer was trying to take a number of significant concessions from you, including:
- 4% salary rollback
- Elimination of the Employment Security language
- Significant reduction in shift differential pay
- Significant reduction in weekend premium pay
- Elimination of the paid Christmas closure days
- Added benefit plan costs for employees
- Reductions in overtime pay
- Reductions in the Health Spending Account (HSA) provisions
- Significant additional salary rollbacks for employees in the Program Services (PS 3 & 4) classification series
- Significant additional salary rollbacks in the Natural Resources (NR 6-8) classification series
- Significant additional salary rollbacks in the Correctional Service Worker (CSW 2) classification series
- Significant additional salary rollbacks in the Human Services Worker (HSW 5 & 6) classification series
These concessions have been withdrawn by the employer and will remain as current language in the settlement you will be voting on.
What the mediated settlement does include, and what will form part of a new collective agreement if ratified by the membership is:
- Employment Security for permanent staff (Letter of Understanding 17) effective as of October 12, 2021 and will stay in effect until December 31, 2022.
- 1.25% salary increase effective January 1, 2023
- Minimum 1.5% salary increase with potential for additional 0.5% increase based on economic factors effective September 1, 2023
- 8% salary increase for employees performing duties as part of the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response force as a result of significant expansion of policing duties, responsibilities and risks. The 8% increase will be retroactive to April 1, 2021 and remain in place as long as RAPID exists.
- Current rate of pay protection for all current employees in the Program Services (PS 3 & 4) and Natural Resources (NR 9) classification series. A reduced pay grid structure will be applied to new hires.
- Expiry date of March 31, 2024
Your GSBC is recommending ratification of the mediated settlement based on there being no concessions (a position we steadfastly maintained), that employment security is extended until the end of 2022, and that there are salary increases in 2023 totalling 2.75% guaranteed and likely up to 3.25% (based on economic indicators at the time).
Ratification vote packages will be mailed to you in November. These will contain detailed information on the mediated proposed settlement, a ballot, return stamped envelope, and instructions for returning your ballot.
Your GSBC is working to organize telephone town halls on November 9 and 10, 2021 to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about the proposed settlement. Watch your e-mail and union bulletin boards for further information about those dates.
Ratification vote results will be released once the ballots have been counted by the GSBC sometime in mid-December.
If it is the memberships’ decision to reject the mediator’s recommendation, the next step will be formal mediation once the Essential Services Agreement (ESA) is certified by the Alberta Labour Relations Board. In that event, members should be aware the changes that were achieved in this current informal mediator’s recommended settlement may disappear, leaving your negotiating team starting from where we left off - with all the previous concessions back on the table.
We would continue to prepare our members for a potential strike or lockout in the event that formal mediation does not result in a settlement.
We know that it has been a very stressful time for all our members in government services. In addition to the anxiety and challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic we have also been subjected to serious threats of concessions and rollbacks by the employer.
We have spent the last year preparing our members for the picket lines that could arise from potential strike or lockout which has also added to feelings of uncertainty and trepidation.
Through it all you have stayed committed to providing services to Albertans and to standing up for your rights as dedicated workers and supporting each other. You have not backed down and the proposed settlement you will be voting on reflects that.
This has been a long and difficult round of negotiations and we want to thank you all for your support and patience over these past 20 months. While your negotiating team is recommending a “Yes” vote, the decision is ultimately in your hands when you cast your vote.
Please keep an eye open for the full ratification package in your mail. Please take the time to review it carefully and attend one of the telephone town hall meetings to ask your GSBC representative and negotiators any questions you may have so that you make an informed and well thought out decision about your Collective Agreement. These are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 9 at noon and 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7:00 p.m. (more details to follow).
Finally, your GSBC wants to thank you all for your patience, your engagement, and your determination over many gruelling months.
Take care, stay safe.
Government Services Bargaining Committee
Local 001 – Rebecca Leblanc (GSBC Vice-chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
Local 002 – Andrea Waywanko email@example.com
Local 003 – Dax Lydiard firstname.lastname@example.org
Local 004 – Steve Eagles email@example.com
Local 005 – Randy Ramsden firstname.lastname@example.org
Local 006 – Tom Grinnell email@example.com
Local 009 – Angela Pala firstname.lastname@example.org
Local 012 – Terrie Wispinski email@example.com
AUPE Resource Staff
Dale Perry, Negotiations Spokesperson firstname.lastname@example.org
Merryn Edwards, Negotiations Spokesperson email@example.com
Julie Jacques, Organizing firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Inigo-Jones, Communications email@example.com
Mimi Williams, Communications firstname.lastname@example.org