Job cuts off table for now, job security extended

AUPE members now free to focus on helping Albertans cope with crisis

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EDMONTON – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) and the Government of Alberta (GOA) have reached an agreement to protect the jobs of permanent government workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now is not the time to be cutting the jobs of our members who work on the front lines of providing vital public services to Albertans who are facing the greatest health and financial crisis of our lifetime,” says Guy Smith, president of AUPE, which represents more than 95,000 workers, including about 23,000 employed by the GOA.

“Late yesterday (Tuesday, March 31), the government recognized that Albertans need stability and predictability as we work together to tackle this crisis and accepted our request to extend job security for Government of Alberta workers. Our members can now focus their energies on helping Albertans.”

A letter of understanding guaranteeing job security expired on March 30. The union and the government have now signed a memorandum of agreement to extend job-security provisions to the end of June. Bargaining a new collective agreement has also been extended until the end of June.

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AUPE president Guy Smith is available for interviews.

Please contact Terry Inigo-Jones, Communications, 403-831-4394.

Employer rejects call to suspend job cuts

GSBC bargaining update: Employer rejects call to suspend job cuts

GOA proceeds with ‘restructuring’ despite COVID-19, economic collapse

GOA proceeds with ‘restructuring’ despite COVID-19, economic collapse

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Your negotiations team met with the employer on Tuesday, March 24. We had one issue to discuss: Can bargaining and jobs cuts be suspended until the COVID-19 crisis has passed?

Late on Friday, March 27, we got our answer: No. The government refused to halt jobs cuts, but did say bargaining could be delayed.

Despite the fact that a sudden wave of mass unemployment is sweeping over the province and throwing countless Alberta families into chaos, the government said it intends to proceed with its restructuring plans, including cuts to the jobs of AUPE members working on the front lines providing vital supports to Albertans.

Bad decision

This is a bad decision. It’s bad for AUPE members who will lose their jobs. It’s bad for Albertans who rely on the vital public services AUPE members provide, particularly in a crisis.

AUPE was able to make similar agreements with major health-care employers Alberta Health Services (AHS), Covenant Health and Capital Care. Those employers recognized the need to focus on the crisis and to leave bargaining aside for now.

Unfortunately, your employer, the Government of Alberta, doesn’t appear to value your work on the front lines in the same way.

Whether you’re a social worker providing support to at-risk children and vulnerable Albertans; Service Alberta staff helping people get access to income supports; Agriculture and Forestry workers preparing for fire season; Courts workers still dealing with the public face to face; peace officers and correctional facility officers keeping us safe; or are doing any of the many other vital roles you perform, the government doesn’t appear to appreciate your work.

Many of you are going to worksites every day to provide those services, putting yourselves and your families at risk, but the government doesn’t appear to value what you do.

It is short-sighted to be eliminating staff during a pandemic when the probability of increased sick leave, people having to self isolate or stay home to care for family members is high. Most workplaces have been working short for years, often to the point of burnout. With job cuts, it is going to get worse.

While some other employers are paying premiums to workers during this crisis, the government offers fear, job cuts and privatization.

About one million Canadians have applied for Employment Insurance (EI) in the wake of COVID-19 so far and more than 100,000 of them could be from Alberta. Somehow, this government thinks now is the time to throw more Albertans out of work.

What makes this even worse is that these job cuts are going ahead even though the employer says its restructuring plans are “in flux” and it will not say how many jobs will be cut, in which departments or when workers will be notified

An estimated 16,000 full-time equivalent (FTEs) public-sector jobs (union and management positions in GOA, Boards & Agencies, Post-Secondary and AHS) are set to be axed over the UCP’s four-year term. Budget 2020 said that 1,436 public-sector FTE jobs would be cut this year.

What’s next?

The Letter of Understanding (LOU) signed as part of your last collective agreement expires on March 30.

We have been told that some members will start to lose their jobs as early as this week. The government has not provided details on which people would be cut in which areas or when, despite repeated requests.

Please contact us at the Member Resource Centre (MRC) at 1-800-232-7284, talk to your Member Service Officer (MSO) or your workplace steward if this affects you.

Your negotiations team is currently scheduled to meet the employer’s representatives on April 1 and 2 and April 21 and 22.

To read the full ingoing proposals from the union and the employer, please click here.

If you have any bargaining questions, please contact your Local negotiations representative.

Your Government Services Bargaining Committee (GSBC)

Rebecca Leblanc, Local 001, leblare@gmail.com
Andrea Waywanko, Local 002, waywaa@hotmail.com
Dax Lydiard, Local 003, 003bargaining@gmail.com
Steve Eagles, Local 004, s-eagles@shaw.ca
Randy Ramsden, Local 005, r.a.ramsden@hotmail.com
Donna Smith, Local 006, xsmith@telus.net
Angela Pala, Local 009, rossieyork@shaw.ca
Ken Podulsky (GSBC Vice-chair), Local 012, pudley68@telus.net
 
AUPE staff resources

Dale Perry, negotiations spokesperson, d.perry@aupe.org
Merryn Edwards, negotiations spokesperson, m.edwards@aupe.org
Farris Sobhani, organizer, f.sobhani@aupe.org
Madelaine Sommers, organizer, m.sommers@aupe.org
Terry Inigo-Jones, communications, t.inigo-jones@aupe.org