Alberta nurses ratify contract that includes 4.25 per cent wage increase over 4 years
Alberta's nurses have overwhelmingly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, closing the book on what the union calls some of the most contentious and bruising negotiations in its history.
The vote was 87 per cent in favour of a four-year deal that includes a 4.25 per cent pay bump over the course of the contract.
“The bargaining committee felt strongly the mediator's recommendation issued on Dec. 21 was a fair deal that will benefit our members and also fair to the people of Alberta,” Heather Smith, president of the United Nurses of Alberta, said in a statement Thursday.
The UNA statement said the vote “brings to an end one of the most prolonged and arduous negotiations in the provincial nursing union's 44-year history.”
The contract is retroactive to 2020 and ends on March 31, 2024.
It includes a one-time lump sum payment of one per cent for 2021 in recognition of nurses' contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There will be $5 million a year toward recruitment and retention strategies in rural and remote areas, and $2.5 million a year for relocation assistance.
There will also be more psychological and mental health supports for nurses and the creation of a union-employer workload advisory committee.
The deal was agreed to by 130 affected UNA locals, whose members make up the bulk of the union's 30,000 registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses.
Premier Jason Kenney's government had been seeking a three per cent wage cut and other contract rollbacks from nurses, arguing that Alberta's nurses were paid more than those in other jurisdictions and that a tight budget required concessions.
“Alberta can no longer afford to be an outlier,” Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a statement as late as July 6, 2021.
Toews suggested at one point that nurses were putting their needs ahead of their patients' by pushing to resume collective bargaining during the pandemic.
The union, in turn, accused Toews of “grossly insulting” hypocrisy from a government that found time for collective talks with physicians and other public sector unions, but not for nurses.
It was a high-wire tightrope situation for the government, demanding wage clawbacks from nurses battling COVID-19 on the front lines while also risking the possibility of a nurses strike during a pandemic.
“Alberta Health Services' willingness to move away from its initial demands for wage cuts and to drop its efforts to impose more than 200 rollbacks made this agreement possible,” said David Harrigan, who led the UNA's bargaining committee.
Kenney told reporters that the deal respects the work of nurses while also meeting the government's goal to rein in budget spending.
“I believe that this collective bargaining agreement is a win-win,” Kenney said late Thursday.
“It ensures that Alberta nurses continue to be the best-compensated in Canada (and) at the same time it brings their compensation closer to the national average in other provinces.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2022.
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week's attack on a Texas elementary school, including one who pleaded, 'Please send the police now,' as nearly 20 officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes, authorities said Friday.
As Johnny Depp's high-profile libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard wound down, Heard took her final opportunity on the stand to comment on the hate and backlash she’s endured online during the trial.
A new report says Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto rank among the top 20 cities around the world when it comes to work-life balance.
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino will table new firearms legislation on Monday, according to his colleague Justice Minister David Lametti. In an interview with CTV's Question Period that will air on Sunday, Lametti pointed to the advance notice given to the House of Commons, and confirmed the plan is to see the new bill unveiled shortly after MPs return to the Commons on May 30.
An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would come back for her so she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.
For 70 years, Andre Hissink has held a grudge against the Dutch government, but this week, the 102-year-old Second World War veteran’s persistence paid off – the Dutch king granted his wish for a rare dual citizenship.
Canada has tapped into its own strategic stockpile of emergency medical supplies -- stored for a national emergency -- to help Ukraine. It has donated over 375,000 items of medical equipment and medicines from Canada's strategic stockpile since the invasion by Russia began.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as 'broken heart syndrome' or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, is an actual medical condition triggered by severe emotional or physical stress and is different from a heart attack.
After a six-week trial in which Johnny Depp and Amber Heard tore into each other over the nasty details of their short marriage, both sides told a jury the exact same thing Friday -- they want their lives back.
Calgary Flames fans are still coming to terms with a playoff series loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in a game that saw both controversy and heartbreak following a Connor McDavid overtime goal.
Alberta Parks has closed a section of Fish Creek Provincial Park in the city's southeast after aggressive coyotes attacked a dog and its owner.
RCMP are investigating the circumstances of a two-vehicle crash on Highway 1 on Friday.
'We will have to deal with the issues': Saskatoon condo residents at odds with city over public washroom plan
Outcry over the planned location of public washrooms caused Tuesday's city council meeting to stretch late into the evening.
A pedestrian injured by a vehicle in Prince Albert has died.
Saskatchewan Roughriders rookie Nelson Lokombo is ready to return to the football field after missing the entire 2021 season with an achilles injury.
Premiers from western Canada met to discuss healthcare in their first face-to-face meeting in more than two years in Regina on Friday at the 2022 Western Premiers' Conference.
A Regina family facing homelessness will not be evicted from their government-owned rental unit after it was discovered they owed more than $1,000 in back rent.
An alleged mail theft and identity fraud has resulted in more than 100 charges for a 42-year-old Edmonton man, according to the Regina Police Service (RPS).
A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.
A Cape Breton father is warning the public of the dangers in the area he lives after his teenager son fell nearly 40 feet over a cliff in Glace Bay.
Two Muslim sisters in St. John's, N.L., are speaking out after a man approached them where they work, screamed at them and then smacked the 15-year-old sister across the head, nearly knocking her over.
Police have released a video showing the arrest of two suspects who allegedly stole a Mercedes – the latest in a string of armed vehicle thefts that has prompted police services in the Greater Toronto Area to create a carjacking task force.
Toronto Pearson International is warning travellers and Mississauga residents they may notice unusual activity at the airport this weekend.
New video has emerged showing the moment a tornado touched down in Uxbridge, Ont. over the weekend, ripping the roof off a local brewery.
Canada's highest court has ruled that Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six people at the Quebec City mosque in 2017, will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Hydro-Quebec is still struggling to restore power to tens of thousands of homes left without electricity, six days after deadly storms hit in Quebec and Ontario.
Quebec Premier François Legault may not have expected quite this type of fallout from Bill 96, but he found himself hammered by questions on Thursday -- about Quebec independence.
As of Friday evening, 26,000 Hydro Ottawa customers remain without power in all neighbourhoods of the city.
The principal of a French Catholic high school in Orleans is leaving the school this week, two weeks after students said a dress code enforcement "blitz" left them feeling degraded and humiliated.
Approximately 25,000 people will take part in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
A man, who was a referee at high school volleyball games in Guelph for more than 30 years, is facing sex assault-related charges.
The Region of Waterloo says there's a high safety risk at a Kitchener encampment and they are working with residents to prepare them for their eventual move.
The Queen Victoria statue in downtown Kitchener is once again clean after it was splashed with red paint earlier this week.
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) has honoured two people from Sudbury for their rescue efforts during last year's rescue at Totten Mine.
A 54-year-old man is facing several charges in Sudbury, including sexual assault, following an investigation triggered by reports someone was trying to traffic a victim under the age of 16.
There’s an increased police presence around four Toronto schools this morning after a 27-year-old man walking the nearby streets with an air rifle was shot dead by police on Thursday.
Winnipeg police are telling people to find an alternate route this afternoon as they are investigating a fatal crash near the St. Boniface Industrial Park.
On May 2, Manitoba shut down Highway 75 due to rising flood waters and nearly four weeks later part of it is opening up again.
Fifty-eight-year-old Vivian Ketchum is set to receive her high school diploma at a graduation ceremony at the University of Winnipeg next month. It is a moment that is decades in the making.
Vancouver police are investigating a double stabbing they say happened at an apartment building in Kitsilano Friday morning.
British Columbians excited to take their dog on a local hike this summer are being reminded to prepare for the pets, just as they plan for themselves.
Mounties say a suspicious device found on the side of a road in West Kelowna Thursday was, in fact, an explosive.
B.C. speedboat driver arrested with 650kg of meth 'feared for his family's safety,' he told U.S. investigators
New details are emerging after a 51-year-old Alberta man was arrested aboard a speedboat that U.S. authorities say was carrying 650 kilograms of methamphetamine between Washington state and British Columbia.
DEVELOPING | Mill Bay mall fire closes Trans-Canada Highway lanes
At least one building was destroyed Friday afternoon as firefighters rushed to a large fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay, B.C.
West Shore RCMP are on the lookout for a missing dog that was inside of a truck when it was stolen from the Langford area on Thursday morning.