Collective Agreements → Negotiations

Photo: United Nurses of Alberta's 2013 Negotiations Committee. Back row: Sheila Dorscheid (Local 37), Diane Plowman (Local 30), Colleen Adams (Local 160), Anna-Marie Nicol (Local 12), Diane Lantz (Local 1), Gail Pederson (Local 38). Front row: Alan Besecker (Local 302N) Heather Smith (UNA President), David Harrigan (Director of Labour Relations), Heidi Gould (Local 229), Steven Johnson (Local 120), Jeannine Arbour (Labour Relations Advisor), Claire Galoska (Local 95).

UNA's approach to collective bargaining

Bargaining collective agreements is UNA’s most important job. This is because the agreements we negotiate with employers govern the pay, benefits and working conditions of all UNA members.

A collective agreement is a legally binding contract between a union, negotiating on behalf of a group of employees, and an employer. Typically, collective agreements set out such things as wages, scheduling rules, overtime pay, sick leave, job security, benefits and other employee rights.

Since it was founded, UNA has negotiated collective agreements that have greatly improved salaries, benefits and workplace conditions for all members. UNA has more than quintupled the wages of Alberta nurses since it was founded. In 1977, a new nurse earned only $6.28 an hour!

Members set UNA’s bargaining priorities

Before the expiry date of any UNA collective agreement, affected members can attend “demand setting meetings” at which the locals determine their bargaining proposals.

This is the process through which UNA’s members democratically decide their priorities in bargaining. UNA’s negotiating committees, the people who actually meet with the employer’s representatives at the bargaining table, are made up of working members of the union, elected by their co-workers to represent them.

UNA members vote on their agreements

No UNA agreement takes effect before the members whose working lives it governs have the opportunity to discuss and ratify it in a democratic vote. Province-wide agreements like the contract with Alberta Health Services must be subject to a vote of all affected members, and must be passed by a majority of both members and locals.

Are strikes by nurses legal?

In 1983, the Alberta Legislature passed a law making it illegal for hospital employees, including nurses, to strike. If a dispute couldn’t be settled in bargaining, this law made it compulsory for the parties to resolve their differences through binding arbitration – a process that gives an edge to employers. In response, UNA adopted a policy against this restriction on the collective bargaining rights of its members. “UNA is opposed to any compulsory arbitration legislation,” the policy states. “Regardless of any legislation, UNA members alone and not the government or any other body shall decide when this union will strike and when it will not.”

UNA believes any collective agreement it signs must be voluntarily accepted by members in a democratic vote, not imposed by arbitration, or any law or ruling.

Updated negotiations factsheets for UNA members

February 27, 2014

United Nurses of Alberta has produced a series of factsheets on the 2013-2014 round of bargaining with Alberta Health Services and the other employers subject to the UNA Provincial Collective Agreement. The Employer is seeking significant rollbacks in several areas important to Alberta’s nurses.

Wear White Wednesdays to show your professional pride

December 11, 2013

All across Alberta, Registered Nurse, Registered Psychiatric Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse jobs are disappearing as the government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services implement staffing changes they call “Workforce Transformation” and the “Clinical Workforce Strategic Plan.”

Bargaining Committee reports on latest negotiations

September 27, 2013

The United Nurses of Alberta Negotiations Committee met with Employer representatives on September 26 & 27 to discuss non-monetary items related to the Multi-Employer Provincial Collective Agreement.

Bargaining Committee reports on first day of negotiations

May 30, 2013

Your Provincial Collective Agreement Bargaining Committee issued the following report after the first day of negotiations with representatives of Alberta Health Services in the 2013 round of bargaining.

Raymond Nurses vote to join UNA

January 07, 2013

Registered Nurses employed at the Raymond Health Centre in the southern Alberta town of Raymond have voted to join United Nurses of Alberta. The Raymond Health Centre is the last AHS operated hospital to become a worksite represented by UNA.

More...
CONNECT TO UNA
HOT TOPICS
Vacation approval delayed or pending?
At most UNA sites, the employer must inform the employee of approval or denial of their requests on the vacation planner by April 30.
Video: The truth about Alberta pensions
UNA President Heather Smith explains why Alberta Nurses should be concerned about the PC Government's proposed changes to the Local Authorities Pension Plan.
Supervision of Health Care Aides
UNA members should be aware of rules governing the supervision of Health Care Aides, as explained by the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta, and the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta.
April 17, 2014
North District Meeting
April 18, 2014
Good Friday (UNA Offices closed)
April 21, 2014
Easter Monday (UNA Offices closed)