UCP tables bill to delay negotiations with public sector unions
The UCP's latest bill would delay negotiations with Alberta unions that represent public sector workers until Oct. 31.
On Thursday, unions that represent nurses, paramedics, teachers, social workers and other public sector workers gathered at the Alberta legislature to speak against the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act.
Alberta nurses signed a contract that agreed to a salary freeze until this summer two years ago, and new wage negotiations had already started.
"If this bill is going to stop this process or delay it, we're very frustrated and our members are very angry," Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith said. "I think Albertans understand the importance of 'a contract is a contract, a deal is a deal,' and here is a government using the power of the state to basically override that and crush workers' rights."
The UCP will use the extra time to figure out how it wants to balance the provincial budget by 2022-23 based on the advice from a panel the government created.
"If we go into arbitration after we've received that advice, after we've got a plan forward, it will ensure we can make the best decisions on behalf of Albertans," Finance Minister Travis Toews said.
Union leaders said they would fight the government's decision, but there is no word on workers going on strike.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson