UNA strongly considers Labour Code complaint in response to apparent effort by AHS to stall bargaining

United Nurses of Alberta will consider filing a complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board if Alberta Health Services does not agree to sufficient bargaining dates to make “reasonable efforts to conclude a collective agreement,” as required by the Alberta Labour Relations Code.

UNA Labour Relations Director David Harrigan said the union has accepted limited bargaining dates in November, December and January 2021 that have been proposed by AHS.

However, he said, two dates in each month does not come close to the time required to negotiate a collective agreement when AHS has stated in a letter to UNA that it plans to lay off 650 to 750 Registered Nurses and has made more than 250 proposals for amendments to the current collective agreement. 

“Two days per month clearly does not meet the requirement of the Labour Code to make reasonable efforts to conclude an agreement,” Harrigan stated.

Accordingly, he explained, UNA has asked AHS to agree to two or three bargaining days per week until an agreement has been reached.

He noted that the Alberta government has pressed AHS and various public health care unions to delay bargaining until March 31, 2021, but refuses to allow the letter of understanding ensuring there will be no layoffs for the term of the collective agreement to continue.

As a result, Harrigan said, UNA could not agree to the delay in bargaining sought by the government.

“The AHS response of offering extremely limited bargaining dates appears to be an effort to achieve the government’s goals by other means, in clear violation of the law,” he stated.

“We are hopeful AHS will agree to comply with the law and schedule an appropriate number of days for bargaining,” he said.