Published by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
STANDING STRONG As PWL locks workers out in the cold, AUPE members refuse to back down.
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SPRING 2017 CONTENTS
DI Direct Impact is published quarterly, with a circulation of more than 90,000.
FEATURES Locked Out The lockout at Points West Living Cold Lake continues. As workers fight for their rights on the picket line, what has happened to care inside the facility?
AUPE EXECUTIVE President
Guy Smith Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Jason Heistad Vice-President
Mike Dempsey Vice-President
The Budget Squeeze
With budget season comes calls to slash costs and freeze public sector wages. But what would a wage freeze really mean for Albertaâ€™s frontline workers?
Bonnie Gostola Carrie-Lynn Rusznak Vice-President
Susan Slade Vice-President
Carl Soderstrom Managing Editor
BY THE NUMBERS The Crisis in Seniors Care Albertaâ€™s seniors population is expected to spike over the next 15 years but the number of long-term care beds has stagnated. We unpack the growing crisis and look at possible solutions.
Mariam Ibrahim Contributors
Tyler Bedford Vanessa Bjerreskov Merryn Edwards Design
ON THE COVER
Telephone: 1-800-232-7284 Fax: 780-930-3392 Toll-free Fax: 1-888-388-2873 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aupe.org
Members at Points West Living Cold Lake were handed a lump of coal for Christmas as their employer locked them out last December. Now, four months later, those members are still on the picket line fighting for the rights of residents to have quality care.
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From the President 4 Spotlight on Finance 5 Labour News 16 Labour Relations Briefs 24 Focus on AUPE 26 Steward Notes Inside
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A Message to Members from AUPE President Guy Smith
Solidarity. If you’re involved with AUPE, or any other union, you have probably frequently heard this word. It’s how we build our common interests in fighting for workplace rights, equality, human rights and justice. Through solidarity we can work together to achieve goals that benefit the collective, the way the membership of a union becomes stronger when they band together. Many of you probably sense solidarity all the time, even if you haven’t used the actual word. Anything that involves working as a team or a group requires some level of solidarity and common purpose – including at your place of employment. And in especially demanding and high-stress work environments, relying on each other for support and pulling in the same direction more easily brings the results you are all working toward. So, as you can imagine, solidarity is an essential ingredient to achieving a common goal. These goals are often, in the context of the labour movement or other social or political movements, considered a threat to certain elements in society. Bosses, governments, and powerful elites don’t want to be confronted with a unified, well organized, passionate and determined group of people who are in solidarity with each other. As a verse in the popular labour song Solidarity Forever states, “in our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold, greater than the might of armies magnified a thousand fold, we can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old, for the union makes us strong.” A lofty goal to be sure; but it’s also a real challenge to those in power.
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That’s why it serves the interests of those in positions of power and authority to undermine the solidarity that brings workers together. Historically we have witnessed the power of the state, through brute force and draconian laws used to break worker solidarity. But such heavyhanded tactics are hard to defend in civilized democratic societies and would, hopefully, create an overwhelming and powerful backlash if they were ever instituted today. Instead, we are witnessing far more subtle and insidious barriers to solidarity being constructed within society. These barriers are harder to identify, quantify and confront than other, more obvious forms of repression. These barriers to solidarity appear in the form of dividing, objectifying and vilifying identifiable groups based on their cultural background, religion, sexual preference, political beliefs, colour of skin, gender, and so on. This dangerous attempt at creating fear and, in some cases, hate amongst workers can lead to a breakdown in solidarity, causing workers to turn against each other instead of turning their collective efforts towards a common goal that benefits them and their communities. AUPE is the largest and most diverse union in Alberta. We are extremely proud of the variety of backgrounds, experiences and cultures that make up the rich and colourful tapestry of our union’s 90,000 members. We celebrate our diversity while recognizing that all of us as workers have common goals that can only be achieved if we break down barriers to solidarity and recognize our full potential as a unified collective.
And solidarity has never been so important. This is AUPE’s busiest year of negotiations in our history with potentially 75,000 of our members at over 100 bargaining tables. We are counting on all of our collective strength, expertise, and commitment to overcome what will likely be very challenging rounds of bargaining. In other words, we need solidarity. As I’ve said in these pages before, we face challenges ahead but we also have unique opportunities to make important gains in fundamental areas of the collective agreements we negotiate – gains that have previously been denied to our members. Let’s work together and break down the barriers to solidarity by respecting and celebrating the diversity of our membership. Let’s recognize that, as the workers who make Alberta run every single day, we can better achieve our collective goals of justice, equality and fairness, both at work and in our communities, by working together. < In Solidarity,
Guy Smith AUPE President
Spotlight on Finance from Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jason Heistad Albert’s population is aging and a similar upward trend has also been observed in other provinces. This means a large portion of people in the province, much like the rest of Canada, are reaching retirement age. According to Alberta figures, the proportion of our population aged 65 and over has increased from 7.2 per cent in 1972 to 10.4 per cent in 2009. As a result, many workers in Alberta, including AUPE members, have started to prepare their finances for retirement. Members have indicated that employers struggle to engage employees about their pension funds early enough and too often neglect to provide members with the information needed to properly plan for their retirement futures. In 2016, AUPE successfully collaborated with the Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APS) to ensure members have the information they need. We organized training seminars for our members in Lethbridge, Calgary, and Edmonton. The morning sessions provided education to members of the Public Service
Pension Plan (PSPP). In the afternoon, members who are part of the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) received training. Depending on the availability of the members and room capacity, the sessions had varying attendance. At AUPE, we believe that our members need to be fully informed at the right time so they are able to efficiently and effectively plan for retirement, and have no surprises along the way. That’s why your union will continue its pension education efforts for members in 2017, ensuring that they have accurate information in a timely manner. AUPE members work hard and deserve to know they’ll be rewarded for their consistent, dedicated service. 2016 PENSION SEMINARS • Lethbridge: 22 members attended the PSPP seminar and 18 attended the LAPP seminar. • Calgary: 18 members attended the PSPP seminar while 39 members attended the LAPP seminar.
• Edmonton: 25 members attended the PSPP seminar while 43 attended the LAPP seminar. At the 2016 Convention, members expressed their satisfaction with the sessions, calling them informative and useful. Pension seminar attendees concluded that the topics covered were extremely helpful in developing a plan to ensure a comfortable retirement. In 2017, AUPE will continue to collaborate with APS to provide additional pension training for members. While APS will facilitate the pension seminars, AUPE will coordinate the registration and provide fact sheets and other resources. < In Solidarity,
Jason Heistad Executive Secretary-Treasurer
PENSION TRAINING SEMINARS Pension training seminars are being organized in Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat. The seminars will give members a better understanding of their pension plan and their benefits. Topics will include: pension calculation, early retirement, retirement options, termination prior to 55 years of age and buy back. If you are interested, please visit aupe.org for further information about these upcoming training sessions.
Red Deer - April 11 Morning Session: PSPP Afternoon Session: LAPP
Prior to registration, members may need to find out which plan they belong to. The links to the employer lists for each plan are as follows:
Medicine Hat - May 23 Afternoon Session: LAPP
LAPP - https://www.lapp.ca/page/lapp-employers PSPP - http://www.pspp.ca/about/participating-employers.jsp
Medicine Hat - May 26 Morning Session: PSPP
Grande Prairie - May 16 Morning Session: PSPP Afternoon Session: LAPP
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BY THE NUMBERS
We talk a lot about the seniors care crisis in Alberta. The lack of beds, the challenges faced by staff members in all facilities to provide the appropriate level of care to residents, the oncoming difficulty we’ll face as people live longer and with more complex health needs. It’s important to know who is affected by problems in seniors care, why it’s actually a crisis, and how to fix it. Here’s a look…by the numbers.
Who is in care?
The demand for long-term care is growing in Alberta as our population ages. These facilities and hospitals are typically reserved for Albertans with high needs, most often seniors over the age of 75 dealing with the effects of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There are also a smaller proportion of younger residents who are receiving long-term care due to complex health conditions.
While Albertans of all ages are represented in long-term care, the overwhelming majority are seniors between the ages of 75 and 94. That’s only expected to increase.
64 & Under
95 & Over
Albertans in long-term care have complex and sometimes very difficult to manage health needs, which only serves to underscore the importance of adequate resources and staffing at facilities.
With age often comes diminished cognitive ability - the norm in long-term care. residents have memory loss 78% ofshort-term
residents have memory loss 66% oflong-term
? Gastrointestinal Disease 6 DIRECT IMPACT
Dementia & Alzheimer’s
of residents don't remember the faces and names of staff members
Current projections say seniors will make up 20 per cent of Alberta's population by 2031, but the number of long-term care beds in the province has remained stagnant for the past 15 years. The data shows public spaces aren't increasing as quickly as private beds - and while staff at private facilities deliver the best care they can each day, private employers spend less money on care and more on their profits, resulting in short staffing and a lack of resources for patients.
Why is it a crisis? Care Hours
In order to maintain the health of a long-term care resident, they require a minimum of 4.1 care hours per day. In Alberta, no long-term care facilities have met this standard, but the only ones that come close are those in the public sector, at four hours.
These facilities are responsible for caring for Albertaâ€™s seniors and otherwise infirm neighbours, friends and family. But how much of their funding is spent on direct care staff responsible for ensuring their residents' safety and health?
Clearly, thereâ€™s a correlation between the number of care hours and how much the facilities spend on staffing care providers.
While the numbers show that public facilities spend a larger portion of their budget on care staff, resulting in more direct care hours for residents, only about one in five beds in the province is public. In fact, the majority are found in for-profit facilities, which means fewer care hours for each patient.
That means that of the almost 25,000 people in care in Alberta right now, 79% are receiving significantly fewer care hours, leading to increased health deterioration.
During the 2015 provincial election, part of the NDP campaign platform was more public care beds for seniors. While this promise has been partly fulfilled there is still a long way to go, in both quantity and quality of the beds being provided.
Public Beds Promised
Public Beds Delivered
Other beds delivered
2,000 0 951
The number of Albertans 85 and over nearly doubled between 2001 and 2015, yet the number of care beds remained the same. Alberta must create 7,000 beds per year until 2031 to reach 2001 levels again. Albertans 85+ Care Beds
33,273 14,486 2001
So when you hear about the seniors care crisis in Alberta, remember these facts. We need to work hard and invest in appropriate seniors care as soon as possible to give our elders the care they need, when and where they need it. Source: http://www.parklandinstitute.ca/losing_ground DIRECT IMPACT 7
Locked Out Points West Living Cold Lake workers are standing up for quality care, and their struggle is shining a light on the crisis in Albertaâ€™s seniors care system.
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oliday traditions were disrupted for Amanda Whillans and her co-workers when their employer, Points West Living, locked them out of their Cold Lake worksite on Dec. 16, 2016. “Since day one it’s been a struggle, and we knew it would be,” said Whillans, a member of the bargaining committee. “Everything worthwhile usually is.” Since the lockout began, workers have been braving the cold on the picket line, determined to stand up for a fair contract that addresses serious concerns impacting the quality of care for the residents they serve. “If I call in sick, Points West Living won’t replace me,” said Natalie Brown, another of the locked out workers. “My coworkers are run off their feet and residents suffer. But the company saves a few bucks.” Ending short staffing is a key priority for these workers, who want their employer to follow a fair and transparent process for filling shifts when workers are absent. They also want to see the company commit to staff training and development and put an end to arbitrary scheduling changes that wreak havoc on the lives of both workers and residents. Their demands are resonating with residents, their families and the broader Cold Lake community, who can see that these kinds of changes are a win-win for both workers and residents. But Points West Living has dug in its heels and refuses to budge on the workers’ key priorities.
By Merryn Edwards Communications Staff
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It’s time for our government to stop the seniors care rip off. Wealthy companies like Points West Living are pocketing taxpayer funds as they look for ways to reduce costs and cut corners instead of ensuring quality care for Alberta seniors. Karen Weiers, Vice-President
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Instead, the company is bringing in replacement workers – better known as scabs – from outside the community, putting them up in hotels, bussing them to and from work and hiring private security to patrol the picket line. Serious concerns are emerging about the standard of care in the facility during the lockout. The facility has repeatedly failed Alberta Heath inspections, and residents and families are speaking out about the unacceptable level of care provided by replacement workers. All of this is heartbreaking for the locked-out workers to hear. “I can’t imagine what the residents are going through or feeling. It makes me cry,” said Brooke MacDonald. “They deserve so much more than this.” Olga Penner’s family was so disturbed by the conditions in the facility they decided to move her to the local hospital, but she passed away soon after. Her daughter-in-law, Diana Penner, told the Cold Lake Sun that the care her motherin-law received dropped dramatically, alleging that Ms. Penner was not properly fed, endured untreated bedsores and that her hygiene was ignored. “The care for residents is plummeting as this wealthy company stubbornly refuses to negotiate improvements,” said AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey. “And the worst part? They are using taxpayer dollars to do it.” This determined group of workers didn’t set out to change the way private, for-profit seniors health care works in Alberta, but they soon realized that the problems they wanted to tackle ran deep.
Unfortunately, the issues the Cold Lake workers are speaking out about are not uncommon at private care facilities across Alberta because continuing care regulations allow them to persist. Although private, for-profit providers like Points West Living receive millions of dollars of taxpayer funding, they are permitted to skim profits from that funding and are not even required to publicly disclose the ways they use those dollars. “It’s time for our government to stop the seniors care rip off,” said AUPE vice-president Karen Weiers. “Wealthy companies like Points West Living are pocketing taxpayer funds as they look for ways to reduce costs and cut corners instead of ensuring quality care for Alberta seniors.” Ontario-based Points West Living is one of the most profitable and fastest growing for-profit seniors care providers operating in Alberta. The company expects to increase its value to $500 million over the next three to five years. In 2015, PWL paid CEO Doug Mills a $250,000 bonus in addition to his regular salary, while VicePresident of Operations Georg Rath’s and Vice-President of Human Resources and Administration Paul Melanson’s bonuses totaled $175,000 each. Each also owns an 8.3-per cent share of the company. And all three were involved in a 2015 sale of PWL’s assets for a total of $100 million. The lion’s share of the funds raised – $68 million – came from refinancing its Alberta facilities, most of which were built with taxpayer funding of up to 50 per cent. Alberta’s NDP government campaigned on a platform of moving seniors care
Locked out workers wave back to residents in the windows as they endure temperatures below -20 celsius on the picket line.
The care for residents is plummeting as this wealthy company stubbornly refuses to negotiate improvements. And the worst part? They are using taxpayer dollars to do it. Mike Dempsey, Vice-President
back into the public health care system, pledging to open 2,000 public long-term care beds. However, the government has continued with the practice of allowing private, for-profit companies to collect public money. The government also ignored AUPE’s call to disclose the amount of taxpayer funding Points West Living receives and make public the details of how that money is used. In October 2016, Labour Minister Christina Gray intervened in the dispute at Points West Living Cold Lake, ordering a Disputes Inquiry Board (DIB) following a request from the company, which delayed any lockout or strike action. The government intervention afforded the company more time to prepare scab labour and private security and put other provisions in place. Since that intervention, the government has been silent on the situation in Cold Lake. Nevertheless, the workers are as determined as ever. They are bolstered by
the support they are receiving from people all over Alberta and beyond who have visited them on the picket line, including their AUPE sisters and brothers, members of other unions, the broader Cold Lake community, and of course, regular stops from the residents themselves and their families and friends. One of the most powerful moments came when the Smoking Buffalo drum group from the Mosquito First Nation near Battleford, Saskatchewan, performed on the picket line. Points West Living Cold Lake employee and Saddle Lake First Nation member Julie Giant put out the call to have drummers sing at the picket line. “I am aboriginal, and in our culture we take elders really seriously and put them first,” said Giant. She wants to see
STOP THE RIP OFF
improvements for the residents she serves. “It just hit me that [Points West Living] is using elders as a paycheque.” Supporters continue to tell the workers how much they admire the sacrifice and dedication required to take a stand like this. But for Whillans, it actually comes down to luck. “There aren’t a lot of people who are lucky enough to feel as passionately about anything as we do about what we are doing. “And here’s to hoping that when or if we ever get to a stage where we require help with our daily living needs, there will be people out there who care for us the way we care for our residents. Here’s to hoping they are able to provide us with the kind of care everyone deserves because of a change in the system that we played a part in.” <
The Points West Living Cold Lake lockout is exposing the deeper crisis in Alberta’s seniors care system, which allows for-profit operators to pocket public funds with no transparency or accountability. The outcome of this struggle could help raise standards for many more seniors care workers and residents across the province as well as broaden the call for quality care for all Alberta seniors. Stand with the Cold Lake workers and add your voice to the growing number calling for urgent action to address the crisis in our seniors care system. Send a message to Points West Living and government representatives at StopTheRipOff.ca
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The pressure’s on Alberta’s NDP government to cut costs… but at what expense?
y the time you read these words, the Alberta government’s 2017 budget will have been released, and with it will come the usual cries from right-wing interest groups and opposition parties that the province must slash costs. With the government projecting a multi-billion dollar budget deficit this year, the cries to cut spending – at all costs – have continued without pause. In fact, the calls to freeze or roll back wages, slash spending across all government departments and return to a regressive tax system have only gotten louder, and in many cases, more disingenuous, as these individuals and groups rely on their old practice of scapegoating the public sector. In its 2017 budget submission to the Alberta Government, titled Lifting the Burden, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation called for the province to cut taxes, balance the books within two years and “make meaningful reductions to spending that reflect the same reality faced by Alberta taxpayers.” That last part is typically code for “slash the public service,” and the organization’s Alberta director, Paige MacPherson, has routinely called for and endorsed a “wage freeze” for public sector workers in the province.
By Mariam Ibrahim Communications Staff
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Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose took that dangerous message a step further: “Out-of-work Albertans don’t send their hard-earned money to Edmonton just so this NDP government can pad the pockets of its union bosses,” Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt wrote in a tweet posted Feb. 2. It’s a completely inaccurate claim that dismisses the hard-working members who deliver needed services on the front lines. It misses the fact that the average annual salary of AUPE members in each of the four sectors represented by the union are on par with or, in some cases, below the provincial average.
AVERAGE AUPE SALARIES It’s the same old story. When Alberta’s finances become shaky, the fingers start pointing – but AUPE members aren’t the overpaid fat cats the opposition would have you believe.
GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA
Alberta’s public sector workers are the backbone of this province, providing the services we count on, and are themselves taxpayers in our local economies. Guy Smith, President
It also ignores the fact AUPE members are, in fact, themselves contributing members of this province, deserving of respect. “Alberta’s public sector workers are the backbone of this province, providing the services we count on, and are themselves taxpayers in our local economies,” said AUPE President Guy Smith. The push to institute a unilateral wage freeze on public sector workers, such as those employed by the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services, is a misguided and short-sighted tactic that pits workers against each other and only serves to do more harm to the economy, he continued. “The government must continue to provide stable funding for government services. We know Alberta’s public service is a stabilizing force in the economy,” Smith said. AUPE Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jason Heistad noted that public sector workers often provide services that out-of-work Albertans depend on as they get back on their feet. And 14 DIRECT IMPACT
$59,314 HEALTH CARE
$38,853 POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
$43,282 BOARDS, AGENCIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT
as the province’s economy suffered, many families were – and are – able to depend on the stable income of a public sector employee. The same holds true for small businesses, as public sector workers spend their money in their local communities. Taking more money out of the pockets of workers will only serve to shake the economy’s fragile recovery. “The cost savings from a public sector wage freeze would barely take a bite out of the province’s deficit, but it would unnecessarily make life more difficult for even more families,” Heistad said. For example, a one-per-cent wage increase for AUPE members would cost approximately $35 million; that’s barely a drop in the bucket when compared to the province’s overall deficit, yet the push to claw back resources from some of the province’s hardest workers continues. Ultimately, Smith said, the push for a wage freeze completely undermines and disregards the right of workers to a free and fair collective
The cost savings from a public sector wage freeze would barely take a bite out of the province’s deficit, but it would unnecessarily make life more difficult for even more families. Jason Heistad, Executive Secretary-Treasurer
bargaining process. It is a process that requires the employer – which, for tens of thousands of AUPE members, is the government itself – to bargain in good faith with its employees. Deciding the outcome of that process with legislation imposing a wage freeze would be a complete abdication of that responsibility, he added. “To unilaterally impose a wage freeze would not only hurt those employees, but it would violate their right to a bargaining process that respects their value and contributions as the dedicated front-line workers of this province,” Smith said. “It is our hope that the government comes to the table ready to negotiate honestly.” <
steward notes VOL. 10 • ISSUE 2 • SPRING 2017
SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT By Mary Kehoe Senior MSO Adviser
A healthy and safe work place is a goal everyone should share. Advocating for health and safety on the worksite is a key part of an AUPE Union Steward’s role. Understanding your responsibilities as well as those of employers and other workers is critical to achieving a healthy and safe workplace. Union Stewards and all workers have three key rights when it comes to understanding hazards and preventing injury: the right to know about the dangers of their job, the right to participate in the process of identifying and controlling the dangers of their job, and finally, the right to refuse unsafe work if it could place the worker or other workers in imminent danger.
STEWARD NOTES 1
steward notes Right to Know Every worker has the right to know what hazards they might face in the course of their day-to-day duties. Workplace hazards are defined as any thing or condition that could pose a danger to the health and safety of a worker. Hazard assessments are used to identify hazards and control measures put in place to either eliminate or reduce the hazard before someone is injured on the job. Stewards should ensure they are familiar with the hazard identification assessments and control documents that are used by employers. In the Occupational Health and Safety Code there are provisions that require all employers to assess places of work and identify potential and actual hazards their workers may face. Under Part 2, Section 7 of the Code, “an employer must assess a work site and identify existing and potential hazards before work begins at the worksite or prior to the construction of a new worksite.” The Code further stipulates that an employer “must prepare a report of the results of a hazard assessment and the methods used to control or eliminate the hazards identified.”
Right to Participate All workers, especially Union Stewards, have the right and obligation to be involved in the assessment of hazards and to be part of the decision-making process to eliminate or control the hazards. As Part 2, Section 8 of the Code states, “an employer must involve the affected workers in the hazard assessment and in the control or elimination of the hazards identified.” This section also states that “an employer must ensure that workers affected by the hazards identified in a hazard assessment report are informed of the hazards and the methods used to control or eliminate the hazards.”
Become a Union Steward Learn new skills, support your co-workers and help strengthen your union by becoming a Union Steward. Start by enrolling in the prerequisite courses, including Introduction to your Union, Contract Interpretation, Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety and Basic Conflict Management. If you like what you have learned in those courses, you are ready to sign up for Foundations for Union Stewards. Prerequisite courses and Foundations for Union Stewards are offered at various AUPE offices from September to June. Check www.aupe.org/training/ for registration information. For more information or to enrol, call the Member Resource Centre at 1-800-232-7284.
2 STEWARD NOTES
Right to Refuse Section 35 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act provides for the right to refuse unsafe work. Under this section, no worker shall “carry out any work if, on reasonable and probable grounds, the worker believes that there exists an imminent danger to the health or safety of that worker,” or “carry out any work if, on reasonable and probable grounds, the worker believes that it will cause to exist an imminent danger to the health or safety of that worker or another worker present at the work site.” Furthermore, this section states that no worker shall “operate any tool, appliance or equipment if, on reasonable and probable grounds, the worker believes it will cause to exist an imminent danger to the health or safety of that worker or another worker present at the worksite.” The section defines “imminent danger” of any job as “a danger that is not normal for that occupation,” or “a danger under which a person engaged in that occupation would not normally carry out the person’s work.” What does “reasonable” mean in this case? The determination of whether there were reasonable grounds to believe that the work presented an imminent danger would be on the basis of a “reasonable person test” or how a typical person with ordinary caution would act in the same circumstance. However it is up to the worker facing the imminent danger to make that determination, and no one else. If you are in an imminent danger situation while at work, you are obligated to immediately stop work and explain to your employer that you are refusing work under Section 35 of the OHS Act.
other disciplinary action against a worker by reason of that worker acting in compliance with this Act, the regulations, the adopted code or an order given under this Act, the regulations or the adopted code."
As a Union Steward, you can make health and safety a top priority by understanding workers’ rights, helping to educate members and employers and modeling best practices. Be proud of the role you play in helping to ensure everyone comes home safe from work! <
Citing this section of the Act protects you against disciplinary action. Your employer must then investigate the situation and take immediate action to eliminate the danger. Your employer can assign you to other work until the problem has been investigated and fixed. It is equally important that you notify AUPE as well as the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre. Workers and Union Stewards should not be afraid to refuse to work in the face of imminent danger or to participate in the assessment and identification of health and safety issues on the worksite. Section 36 of the OHS Act states: "No person shall dismiss or take any
It is imperative to report any health and safety concerns as soon as possible to your employer. This allows for identification and correction of the issues to prevent further incidents. Some employers have online issue reporting tools such as “My Safetynet” for Alberta Health Services, or you may be required to bring your concerns directly to your immediate supervisor, a designated safety officer or an OHS Workplace Committee. AUPE also provides a confidential online OHS reporting system, which can be accessed from the main AUPE website. Once the Issues Reporting form is submitted electronically, it goes directly to an AUPE OHS Union Representative who will then follow up with the member and a Membership Services Officer, if required, to ensure faster resolution.
Contact: Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Workers can also contact the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre to report health and safety concerns. This is a 24/7 operation and calls are answered immediately. Response to online complaints will come within three business days and follow up depends on the nature of the complaint and the number of complaints being processed. Your name will be kept confidential upon request. by phone
1-866-415-8690 by email
CONTACT YOUR MEMBER SERVICES OFFICER
CALL 1-800-232-7284 Have your local/chapter number and worksite location ready so your call can be directed quickly.
STEWARD NOTES 3
DID YOWU KNO
A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE NEW ONLINE REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
AUPE strives to empower its members through knowledge, offering a full slate of courses to help achieve this goal. A new online registration system rolled out last year makes signing up for education courses easier then ever. Here’s a quick look at some of the functions that make online registration a breeze.
Steward Notes is published by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees to provide information of interest to AUPE Union Stewards, worksite contacts and other members. Topics deal with training for union activists, worksite issues, disputes and arbitrations, health and safety, trends in labour law, bargaining and related material. For more information, contact the editor. President
Guy Smith Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Jason Heistad Vice-Presidents
THE NEW ONLINE REGISTRATION Enables you to register yourself in AUPE courses through the AUPE website
• Walks you through registering for courses and ensuring appropriate prerequisites
• Counts down the number of spaces left in a course
• Keeps track of your course registrations • Allows for automatic waitlists • Notifies you of new courses in your area • Contains your education history • Stores copies of all AUPE Education certificates ONLINE REGISTRATION AT A GLANCE Sign in to the online registration system available at www.aupe.org/training/ using your member number
Select a course and date (the system will ensure you meet the necessary prerequisites)
• • Confirm your attendance and attend the course
Receive an acceptance email a few weeks prior to the course
4 STEWARD NOTES
Mike Dempsey Bonnie Gostola Carrie-Lynn Rusznak Glen Scott Susan Slade Karen Weiers Executive Director
Carl Soderstrom Managing Editor
Desiree Schell Editor
Merryn Edwards Contributor
Mary Kehoe Design
Jon Olsen The goal of Steward Notes is to help today’s AUPE Union Stewards do their jobs effectively. To help us, we encourage readers to submit story ideas that deserve exposure. Story suggestions for Steward Notes may be submitted for consideration to Merryn Edwards by e-mail at m.edwards@aupe. org. Please include names and contact information for yourself and potential story sources. Alberta Union of Provincial Employees 10451 - 170 Street NW Edmonton, AB T5P 4S7 T: 1-800-232-7284 F: (780) 930-3392 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aupe.org
this spring to address members’ new and unresolved issues. We strongly encourage members to get involved and to participate in bargaining, from the survey right up to voting on the collective agreement. Members have a voice in the process and it’s vital that voice is heard,” said Slade. AUPE negotiator Mac McNaughton added that former nursing care members who worked for AHS between April 1, 2015 and March 17, 2017 must submit a written request for retro pay by midnight on May 9, 2017 to the appropriate human resources department contact in their zone. The employer will mail retro payment cheques to those employees who have a termination date greater than three months. “Employees who hold another position with AHS, either within AUPE, another union or out of scope, do not need to make a request. Employees who are on leave will receive their retro pay at the same time as active employees,” said McNaughton. AUPE proudly represents approximately 14,000 nursing care members at Alberta Health Services province-wide. <
Alberta Health Services Nursing Care members ratify bargaining package On March 7, AUPE members who work in nursing care for Alberta Health Services voted to accept a bargaining package that saw staff receive a two-per-cent wage increase, as well as improvements to benefits and language, over the life of the two-year agreement. The deal was retroactive to April 1, 2015 and expired March 31 of this year. The package containing the mediator’s recommendations on outstanding items and items agreed to in bargaining, was received by AUPE on Jan. 11 after more than 25 meetings, both face-to-face with the employer, and in mediation. The union mailed 13,582 packages and ballots to AHS Nursing Care members in late January. “The committee held a series of five successful telephone town halls in early February to inform members on the package and to answer any questions or concerns they had,” said AUPE vicepresident Susan Slade.
“We wanted to ensure they had all the information they needed. The negotiation and mediation process was slow and drawn out so our goal was to make sure they were prepared to make an informed vote. “It took almost two years to get this package because throughout bargaining, Alberta Health Services refused to budge from its disrespectful mandate, which was to offer members nothing in terms of wage increases. The treatment by the employer was a disappointing,” she said. But Slade noted that the fight is not over. “We are entering what is expected to be another demanding round of bargaining
It took almost two years to get this package because throughout bargaining, Alberta Health Services refused to budge from its disrespectful mandate, which was to offer members nothing in terms of wage increases. Susan Slade, Vice-President
Aug. 27 - Sept. 1, 2017 GOLDEYE CONFERENCE CENTRE, NORDEGG, ALBERTA
AUPE's Women's Committee is proud to offer members a chance to send their kids to a free summer camp! If you're a member and have children between the ages of 11 and 14, learn more about this fun opportunity and submit your registration at www.aupe.org/camp-aupe
APPLICATION DEADLINE May 1, 2017:
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the trouble with scabs FOR MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS, approximately 40 caregivers at Points West Living Cold Lake, a private, for-profit seniors care facility in northeast Alberta, have been locked out of their worksite – and from the elderly residents they care about. You may ask yourself, how can Points West Living continue to operate if it has locked out its workers? Well, since Dec. 16, 2016, PWL Cold Lake has run on scab labour. Never heard of a scab? Some refer to scabs as replacement workers and others, more accurately, call them strikebreakers, or even rats. They are self-interested individuals who choose to cross picket lines during a strike or a lockout to take the work of those outside on the line. This helps the employer continue to run its business during a dispute. “Scabs, like the ones in Cold Lake, steal jobs from those fighting for fairer and safer worksites, for better working conditions and for improved quality care and services,” said AUPE vice-president Bonnie Gostola. 16 DIRECT IMPACT
By Tyler Bedford, Communications Staff
“Scabs undermine the legal bargaining process, prolong disputes and often make the picket line a more violent and dangerous place.” You’re likely wondering how the employer is able to get away with hiring scabs and how, if an employer claims austerity – which is often the force behind labour disputes – it can afford to hire scabs and the private security that often comes with them. Good questions. As far as the hiring of scabs and private security, the answer is obvious: the employer is not as hard up as it claims to be and would rather spend money on those things than negotiate fairly with its employees. The reason employers are able to get away with hiring scabs is that in Alberta, unlike other jurisdictions such as B.C. and Quebec, we do not have anti-scab legislation. This gives employers a very heavy hand during a dispute and makes it difficult for the union to apply pressure on the employer to come back to the table.
He who takes from another man’s purse takes from his existence. To strike at a man’s food and shelter is to strike at his life…It is for this reason that a labourer is so fiercely hostile to another labourer who offers to work for less pay or longer hours…In addition to the use of bricks, clubs, and bullets, the [striking] labourer finds it necessary to express his feelings in speech. Just as the peaceful country-dweller calls the sea-rover a “pirate,”…the [striking] labourer applies the opprobrious epithet “scab” to the laborer who takes from him food and shelter… Jack London, 1905
Member Resource Centre “In 2006, AUPE began its ‘Change The Law’ campaign, which aimed to have Alberta’s outdated labour laws modernized. Among the major changes the union sought was anti-scab legislation,” said Gostola. Since then, Alberta’s largest union has not let up. “We lobbied the provincial government for years to update Alberta’s labour laws. Unfortunately we saw no action,” she added.
“The NDP, provincially and federally, have discussed and supported the need for anti-scab legislation. In fact, as recently as March 2016, Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats introduced a federal anti-scab bill,” said Gostola. The majority Liberal government killed that bill in September 2016. Gostola said the union is hopeful a Code review will occur soon and that the NDP will do the right thing for workers in this province and ban scab labour.
AUPE will continue to pressure the NDP government to update the Labour Code to include things like anti-scab laws. Bonnie Gostola, Vice-President
However, the election of the NDP in May 2015, raised hopes that the province’s Labour Relations Code would be amended to level the playing field for workers. AUPE submitted a briefing to the new provincial government in August 2015 recommending improvements and updates to the Code, which included another call to ban scab labour to “reduce hostility and protracted work stoppages and help parties come to agreement more quickly.” The promise of a Labour Code review was made by the NDP, but close to two years have passed and the government has yet to get started.
“The time to make these changes is now. AUPE will continue to pressure the NDP government to update the Labour Code to include things like anti-scab laws.” However, until such legislation is created and ratified in Alberta, workers like those at Points West Living Cold Lake will continue to have disputes stretched out over long periods, labour will continue to be challenged and employers will continue to enjoy the unfair advantage of legal scab labour. Premier Rachel Notley, the ball is in your government’s court. <
ONE NUMBER HELPING 90,000 MEMBERS
If you’ve called AUPE lately, you already know the benefits of our Member Resource Centre. A team member connects you with the services you need faster than ever. Most requests can be handled the minute we pick up your call. Have a complex issue? The next time you call, our new technology will allow us to pick up the conversation the same place it ended.
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Manwar Khan Local 002 Government of Alberta Community and Social Services employee
Manwar Khan’s motto boils down to four simple words: Don’t be a bystander. The 38-year-old was riding the Edmonton LRT home one day in late 2012 when he became witness to a devastating and ultimately fatal beating on a train car. He tried to intervene, but couldn’t do so safely. He appealed to other transit riders in the car, but frozen by fear, none of them got up to help. Khan understands the fear of other passengers in the face of such a brutal 18 DIRECT IMPACT
attack, but he was never able to shake the feeling everyone else on that LRT car could have done more. The victim, 29-year-old John Hollar, would go on to succumb to his injuries in hospital. His attacker was eventually sentenced for murder. “I wish we could have saved him,” Khan says of Hollar. “Can I guarantee that? No. But we could have said we tried, we could have said we did everything we could.” The experience shook Khan to his core and sparked him to lead a movement to make our community, province and world a safer place. “You can play a role. If you see something happening, don’t walk away. Say something,” says Khan, a Government of Alberta Community and Social Services employee and Local 002 member. “That’s the message I’m trying to spread with my campaign.” Khan came forward after news of the LRT attack broke, and received hundreds of messages from public officials and everyday Edmontonians alike, commending him for his efforts. From there he built a movement, encouraging all of us to take an active role to make sure our communities are safe for all of us. He started with a rally in Edmonton and since then his message has taken on a life of its own, spreading to cities large and small, with more than 15 different rallies already. “I'm doing this as an Albertan, and as a father of two children," says Khan. “I don’t want my kids to grow up in an environment where they are bullied or have to fear for their safety.” He isn’t backed by any big organizations but has received support from across the political spectrum, and from across the province. Everyone from politicians to schoolchildren has heard his message. His efforts were noticed by Canada’s Governor General, who invited Khan to Ottawa in July 2014 to receive the “Caring Canadian” award. Khan says he was honoured to be recognized and is more motivated than ever to continue spreading his message that we all have a role to play in eradicating bullying, hate and violence. “I started this because I couldn’t save John Hollar,” Khan says. “That was not going to happen again.” <
Courage under fire Alberta's public service earns top distinction for work during Fort McMurray wildfire disaster
The bravery and dedication displayed by Alberta's public service during the devastating wildfire in Fort McMurray last year earned them a top national distinction for leadership in the public sector. Deloitte Canada and the Institute of Public Administration in Canada named the Alberta Public Service the Gold Winner during its 2016 Leadership Awards, presented last October in Toronto. The honour was due both to the courageous response in the face of the massive blaze and also for the efforts displayed in coordinating the evacuation of the city and area residents. Alberta's public employees, from those providing background support to those firefighters on the front lines, are no strangers to wildfires. The province's fire season is a busy one and Alberta has in recent years seen serious fires that threaten communities and in some cases rip right through, like what happened in Fort McMurray last May. The Beast, as the fire later came to be known, took on a life of its own, burning into the city's border, swallowing whole neighbourhoods and destroying roughly 2,400 structures by the time it had been fought back to a safer distance.
Throughout it all Alberta's public service was at the ready. As the disaster unfolded, they sprung into action, consolidating their knowledge and expertise to help activate the province's Emergency Coordination Centre, through which the government focused its efforts at tackling the emergency. “The deployment of resources to distribute emergency financial donations, and to manage the operation of reception centres and other social supports captivated the public and global media for weeks,” reads the award announcement. Public employees also helped coordinate the outpouring of support from the public, setting up a donation centre and distributing nearly $100 million in financial support to the area's approximately 96,000 evacuees.
Alberta’s public service showed incredible dedication and selflessness in the face of unimaginable circumstances. Glen Scott, Vice-President
“Alberta’s public service showed incredible dedication and selflessness in the face of unimaginable circumstances,” said AUPE vice-president Glen Scott. “Their efforts helped to make the difficult task of evacuating an entire city more manageable, and will continue to be an integral part of the region’s recovery.” <
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LOOKING BACK Preserving our history as AUPE prepares for centennial celebrations
LOCAL 052 Building solidarity through community
As one of AUPE’s oldest locals, Local 052 knows a thing or two about the importance of unity and community. The University of Calgary local is one of AUPE’s most diverse, representing roughly 5,400 members across a wide variety of university occupations – everything from plumbers and electricians, to support staff and advisors, to lab technicians and nurses, to research assistants and animal care specialists. And that’s just scratching the surface. “You name it, we do it,” says Chair Kevin Barry, who has helmed Local 052 for the past six years. The local has had a line of active chairs and activists who built it, including Shirley Maki, Dan Tilleman, Mary Nowakowski, Pat Walsh, Albi Sole and long-time chief steward Harry Drummond. The local’s history stretches back to the days of AUPE’s predecessor, the Civil Service Association of Alberta. Because the local and its membership are contained to the university community, its structure and dynamic are somewhat unique, says Barry. It has office space on the campus – a right enshrined in its collective agreement – staffed full-time by its chief steward and two days a week by Barry as chair. The local is made up of four chapters – they separately nominate representatives to sit on its Local Council, which consists of 52 members who meet monthly from September to June. Its last strike happened back in the days of the CSAA but since then there have been some hard fought battles, including the fight in 2005 against the 20 DIRECT IMPACT
Giving Back Chief Steward Walter Porochnuk (left) and Chair Kevin Barry (right) pose with U of C student's union vice-president Ben Cannon during a 2013 donation drop off to the campus food bank.
university’s plans to contract out food service workers. They lost that struggle but won some concessions afterwards that included no contracting out language in the collective agreement. In 2008, the local fought to have more than 1,000 trust employees at the university included in the local union and after years of struggle, the Alberta Labour Relations Board agreed. It was a major victory that afforded the employees access to benefits and pensions. The local’s structure allows it and its four chapters to operate effectively as one unit. It’s through that process that some of its most meaningful initiatives have been born. For example, Local 052 has been the largest contributor to the campus food bank for decades. “The campus food bank is accessible to students, staff and faculty – not just our members,” Barry says. The local has also established three scholarships, disbursed by the university, available to members of the local or their children. Their benevolence extends outside the university community, too. During its history the local has donated two Handi-Buses, which are part of Calgary Transit’s fleet and allow those with disabilities and limited mobility to travel more freely. And when natural disaster strikes, the local is always among the first to contribute to relief efforts, donating $15,000 both in the aftermath of the Calgary floods a few years back and the Fort McMurray fires last year. Building that sense of unity has also helped to make Local 052 a strong one with a loud voice, able to effectively advocate for its members’ rights with the support of the broader university community. <
HELP US PRESERVE SOLIDARITY, FOREVER The Centennial Project has launched an initiative to capture the important histories of AUPE Locals. We’re asking AUPE Local Chairs to work with us to capture a brief history of each Local. The Project wants to use these histories to preserve the important stories and struggles of all AUPE components. These histories will help us remember the pioneers, both leaders and rank-and-file activists, who built our Locals into what they are today. Recording and valuing the stories and struggles of what we’ve been through will help inform what we do next. The Centennial Project is here to help Locals record these histories. Take a look at our first Looking Back piece, from Local 052. We hope to be able to profile some of these Local histories in these pages and on the new Centennial Project website that will be launched this year. These histories can also be included as part of an effective new member orientation for Locals, and are a meaningful way to keep us all invested in our histories. For more information, contact the Ron Patterson, Centennial Project Coordinator at email@example.com.
Union Strong: We All Belong! AUPE to celebrate strength in diversity at Convention 2017 Convention 2017’s theme is Union Strong: We All Belong! The message is perfect for recognizing and celebrating the fact that the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is the province’s largest and strongest union because it is made up of people from every walk of life who work hard and contribute greatly to our quality of life. Convention will again be held at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown
Edmonton and is expected to attract more than 1,000 delegates, observers, life members, media and more from October 19-21. This year is also an election year. Executive elections will be held for AUPE president and executive secretarytreasurer, as well as for six AUPE vice-president positions. Visit aupeconvention.org for more information. See you there! <
AUPE CONVENTION 2017
CANDIDATE STATEMENT DEADLINE
As 2017 is an AUPE election year, Convention delegates will vote to elect the union’s eight-member Executive Committee, which consists of: President, Executive Secretary-Treasurer and six Vice-Presidents. Candidates for election to the Executive Committee who wish to place a statement in the pre-Convention edition of Direct Impact and on AUPE’s website must provide a deposit of $100, which must be paid to AUPE by Aug. 21, 2017. The cheque should be made out to AUPE. This sum will be refunded upon their acceptance of nomination at Convention.
Candidate statements must be received by August 21, 2017. Late submissions will not be printed in Direct Impact. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must be 500 words or less.
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Get DI on your computer or mobile device! COMPONENT OFFICER TRAINING Component Officer Training workshops are designed to assist you in becoming an effective officer within your Local or Chapter. These one-day workshops contain information to help you with your roles and responsibilities.
Chapter Chairs & Vice Chairs Workshops Grande Prairie, May 31, 2017 Peace River, June 1, 2017 Medicine Hat, June 6, 2017 Lethbridge, June 7, 2017 Calgary (1), June 8, 2017 Red Deer (1), June 9, 2017 Athabasca, June 12, 2017 Camrose, June 13, 2017 Edmonton (1), June 15, 2017 Edmonton (2), June 16, 2017 Calgary (2), June 20, 2017 Calgary (3), June 21, 2017 Red Deer (2), June 22, 2017 Edmonton (3), June 23, 2017 Edmonton (4), June 26, 2017
Registration Deadline: May 5 Registration Deadline: May 5 Registration Deadline: May 12 Registration Deadline: May 12 Registration Deadline: May 12 Registration Deadline: May 12 Registration Deadline: May 19 Registration Deadline: May 19 Registration Deadline: May 19 Registration Deadline: May 19 Registration Deadline: May 26 Registration Deadline: May 26 Registration Deadline: May 26 Registration Deadline: May 26 Registration Deadline: June 2
Local Workshops (Registration Deadline: June 2, 2017) Local Chairs & Vice Chairs Workshop Edmonton, June 27, 2017 Local Treasurers Workshop Edmonton, June 28, 2017 (Local Chairs encouraged to attend) Local Secretaries Workshop Edmonton, June 29, 2017
How to Register Please use the AUPE online registration system. Visit www.aupe.org, click on “Training,” then “Online registration.” Please enter your information and click "Login." If this is your first time using the system, please register using your Member Number and Last Name, which can be found on your AUPE Membership Card or obtained by calling the Member Resource Centre at 1-800-232-7284. If you have problems with registering please contact Stephanie Guzman at 1-800-232-7284 or by email at email@example.com Please note: You must have been elected at your 2017 AGM before you can register for these workshops. 22 DIRECT IMPACT
AUPE is pleased to offer Direct Impact online or on your mobile device. For mobile Download the free Issuu app and search “AUPE” Or go online Visit issuu.com and search “AUPE”
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MEDAL OF BRAVERY Alberta wildlife officers awarded medal for role in saving colleague during cougar attack
Two Alberta government scientists and AUPE members were among more than a dozen Medal of Bravery winners named late last year for their part in remarkable acts of heroism. Myles Brown and Chad Lyttle were recognized with the award in Ottawa by the Governor General for saving the life of a colleague while working at a remote site southwest of Grande Prairie in 2014. The men, who work for Alberta Environment and are members of Local 005, were setting up a work camp along with a female colleague. There had been a recent rainstorm that had made the conditions less than desirable. Brown was at the back of the pickup truck, changing his boots, when Lyttle's voice cried out for help. “When I heard him, I didn't know what was happening, but there was distress in his voice,” Brown recalled. Their colleague had been attacked as she returned to the camp. Brown found Lyttle, but their colleague couldn't be seen. As they approached the bush, Brown saw a pair of rubber boots like his own lying on the ground. When the boots suddenly jerked into the bush Brown realized with a chill someone was still inside them. The men jumped through the trees to discover their colleague lying injured on the ground, a cougar on top of her. Brown kicked at the cat, managing to catch it in the ribs. “That was enough to send it off,” he said. He and Lyttle, with the help of other coworkers who had arrived on site, immediately began delivering first aid to their colleague, who was conscious but had suffered serious wounds in the attack.
“She was the literal definition of a warrior. She was amazing,” Brown said. She's since recovered from her injuries and is back to work. To thank her colleagues for their part in saving her life, she nominated them for the medal. "We're so proud of these AUPE members for the courage they displayed during this harrowing attack," said AUPE vice-president Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, who also chairs the OHS committee. "Their professionalism and expertise likely prevented this terrible accident from becoming a tragedy. They are true heroes.” Brown says he was stunned and honoured to be given the Medal of Bravery with Lyttle, but is quick to note that the bravery extended to their other colleagues on site that day, too.
We're so proud of these AUPE members for the courage they displayed during this harrowing attack. Carrie-Lynn Rusznak, Vice-President
“I can't emphasize how much of a group effort it was,” Brown said. “Everyone sprung into action.” While workers receive Occupational Health and Safety training to prepare them for accidents and other threats, Brown said the cougar attack revealed just how prepared the team was. “You train for events like this, but then, for it to actually happen,” he said. “I know I work with good people. I know these people know exactly what to do and it's a very comforting feeling.”<
ADVOCATING FOR SAFETY Occupational health and safety is an integral part of our working lives. From workplace and domestic violence, to fatigue and burnout, to training and safe work practices, there is a lot to learn and a lot to talk about. That’s why this year, AUPE’s annual OHS seminar in April will for the first time be held over two days rather than one. The longer format will allow for more discussion and learning from both peers and experts on topics ranging from preventing workplace violence to measuring OHS vulnerability. This year's conference will also include a ceremony to mark the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job, as well as presentation of the annual Rolyn Sumlak Award, AUPE’s highest honour for OHS activism. Conference organizers hope to continue with this new format in upcoming years. < We all want to be safe at work, and your union can help you learn how to be an advocate for your own safety as well as that of your coworkers. To find out more, visit aupe.org/training. DIRECT IMPACT 23
LABOUR RELATIONS BRIEFS NOVEMBER 20, 2016 - FEBRUARY 21, 2017
047/016 St. Michael’s Grove Manor: Agreement ratified
001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 009 & 012 Government of Alberta: Bargaining survey completed Members who work for the Government of Alberta took part in a bargaining survey to help their bargaining committee determine the membership’s priorities for the upcoming round of bargaining. Almost 5,000 members completed the survey before it closed on Jan. 25. The bargaining committee thanks the members for their time and effort in filling out the survey.
040/013 Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline: Application for mediation After negotiations broke down on Nov. 30, the bargaining committee for staff at Chateau Vitaline applied for mediation with their employer, Covenant Care. The employer’s final offer in bargaining fell far short of agreements reached at Villa Marie in Red Deer and Holy Cross Manor in Calgary. The bargaining committee hopes a neutral third party will help the employer see that employees doing the same job should not be paid significantly less than their counterparts in different locations. Chateau Vitaline is a 49-bed seniors residence in Beaumont, 30 kilometres south of Edmonton.
041, 043, 044, 045 & 046 AHS Nursing Care: Vote on mediator's recommendations AHS nursing care members on March 7 ratified their bargaining package, 24 DIRECT IMPACT
including items agreed to in collective bargaining and recommended by the mediator following a mail-in vote at union headquarters. The agreement, retroactive to April 1, 2015, includes a 1.2 per cent increase for 2015-16 and a 0.8 per cent increase for 2016-17, with improvements to benefits and language. It expires March 31, 2017. The employer has until March 10, after press time, to ratify. Negotiations began in May 2015 for this agreement. The mediator produced the recommended settlement following 25 mediation dates.
047/003, 004 & 048 Revera Jasper Place, Miller Crossing, and South Terrace: Agreement ratified Members at three Revera facilities in Edmonton ratified a new collective agreement on Oct. 25. The two-year agreement, expiring March 31, 2018, includes salary increases of 2.25 per cent for 2016 and two per cent in 2017. In addition, staff will receive increases to weekend premiums and an additional named holiday. AUPE represents approximately 440 members at the three facilities.
Staff at St. Michael’s Grove Manor in Spruce Grove ratified a new collective agreement on Feb. 2 following a worksite vote. The four-year agreement, expiring Sept. 30, 2018, includes salary increases of three per cent for 2014, 1.2 per cent for 2015, 0.8 per cent for 2016, and the same increase as will be negotiated for AHS ANC in 2017. They also receive an increase to their health spending account, and an additional step of vacation leave for long-service employees. AUPE represents approximately 20 staff members at the care facility west of Edmonton.
047/022 Venta Care GSS: Agreement ratified GSS members at Edmonton’s Venta Care Centre have a new collective agreement following a ratification vote on Dec. 21. The new two-year agreement, spanning from Aug. 1, 2015 to July 31, 2017, includes salary increases of two per cent each year. AUPE represents approximately 50 GSS staff at the facility.
Seasons Camrose: First agreement ratified
Venta Care ANC: Agreement ratified
More than 100 members at Seasons Camrose seniors residence ratified their first collective agreement on Jan. 10. The three-year agreement, expiring Dec. 31, 2019, includes salary increases of two per cent, 1.75 per cent, and 1.5 per cent in each year, as well as increases to shift and weekend premiums, paid holidays, increases in sick leave, an RRSP entitlement, LPN professional development days, and no contracting out language.
ANC members at Venta Care Centre in Edmonton ratified a new collective agreement on Dec. 21. The two-year agreement, expiring July 31, 2017, includes salary increases that will mirror the AHS ANC agreement when it is settled. Additionally, RRSP matching will be increased from two per cent to three per cent. AUPE represents approximately 100 ANC staff at the facility.
047/025 St. Michael’s Vegreville: Extended contract, wage reopeners ratified Staff at St. Michael’s Vegreville ratified two wage reopeners and agreed to extend their contract by one year in a vote on Feb. 8. The extended contract will now expire March 31, 2018. In addition to an increase in their health spending account as of April 2017, staff will also receive salary increases of 1.2 per cent in 2015, 0.8 per cent in 2016, and the same percentage as negotiated for AHS ANC staff in 2017.
047/029 Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre: Agreement ratified Members at Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre ratified a new collective agreement with their employer, Hong Lok Management, on Jan. 3. The new three-year agreement, expiring Sept. 30, 2018, gives employees 1.5 per cent wage increases for each of three years, as well as an increase to shift and weekend premiums. AUPE represents over 60 staff members in both ANC and GSS roles at the care centre.
047/036 Rivercrest Lodge: Agreement ratified Members at Rivercrest Lodge ratified a new collective agreement by voting on a second mediator’s recommendation in early February. The new four-year agreement, expiring March 31, 2019, includes increases in salaries, two special leave days, weekend premiums for day shift, floater days, addition of domestic violence language, and the addition of no harassment language. Members at the seniors facility in Fort Saskatchewan had voted in favour of a mediator’s recommendation
on Nov. 24, 2016, but the employer rejected the proposed settlement. A strike vote on Dec. 13, 2016, by the Auxiliary Nursing Care staff at Rivercrest Lodge received overwhelming support.
047/038 Sprucewood Place and Villa Marguerite: Agreement ratified Staff members at two Edmonton seniors homes signed a new collective agreement on Feb. 1. The three-year agreement, expiring March 31, 2018, includes salary increases of one per cent in the first year, 1.5 per cent in the second year, and one per cent in the third year. AUPE represents approximately 240 staff members between the two facilities.
047/039 Hardisty Care Centre: GSS staff join AUPE General Support Services staff members at Hardisty Care Centre joined AUPE on Nov. 23, 2016, following the release of the certification voting results. The 55 new members were the last non-unionized staff at Park Place seniors facilities in Edmonton. In addition to these new members, AUPE represents ANC staff at Hardisty, as well as GSS and ANC staff at Devonshire Care Centre. Bargaining for a new collective agreement will begin shortly.
048/011 Edith Cavell Care Centre: Agreement ratified Over 100 staff members at Edith Cavell Care Centre in Lethbridge avoided a strike after signing a new two-year collective agreement on Dec. 8, 2016. The agreement, expiring Nov. 30, 2017, includes salary increases of two per cent on Jan. 1, 2016 and one per cent on Dec. 1, 2016. They also
receive increases to shift and weekend premiums, increases to the health spending account, and new provisions for personal leave days. The union had applied for a strike vote on Nov. 7, 2016, after the employer rejected a mediator’s recommended settlement, which employees had accepted in August.
048/014 Park Place Newport Harbour: Agreement ratified Members at Newport Harbour in Calgary ratified a mediator’s recommendation on Dec. 19, 2016, to achieve a new collective agreement with their employer, Park Place. The three-year agreement, expiring March 31, 2018, includes wage increases of two per cent in 2015, 1.5 per cent in 2016, and one per cent in 2017 for all staff but LPNs, and increases of 1.5 per cent in 2015, one per cent in 2016, and one per cent in 2017 for LPNs. AUPE represents over 140 staff at Newport Harbour in northwest Calgary.
048/038 & 039 Carewest: Staff at two sites join AUPE Workers at Carewest Garrison Green and Carewest Sarcee voted to join AUPE following worksite ballots held in early December. Approximately 180 ANC staff at Garrison Green and 160 ANC staff at Sarcee are now represented by the union. AUPE now represents nine Carewest sites in Calgary in both ANC and GSS.
054, 056, 057, 058 & 095 AHS GSS: Bargaining survey completed General Support Services staff, fresh off an arbitrator’s binding contract, began preparing for bargaining again by completing a bargaining survey, which closed on Feb. 20. < DIRECT IMPACT 25
FOCUS ON AUPE SOLIDARITY ON THE LINE As the lockout at Points West Living Cold Lake continues, workers on the picket line have received visits from friends, families, other unions and even a special performance by the Smoking Buffalo drummers from the nearby Mosquito First Nation. Workers on the line are continuing their fight for better working conditions and patient care in the private facility.
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Social Workers: Advocating for Albertans Across Alberta, Registered Social Workers can be found helping others. Often, you will find us advocating for those who are not able to speak for themselves.
As social workers, we are on the front lines, urging government to repair major cracks in our social infrastructure and to adopt social polices that look after the needs of vulnerable Albertans.
Alberta’s income disparity gap is a good example. A growing gap between the haves and have nots has resulted in more homelessness, more working poor, an affordable housing crisis and many other social problems.
Access to resources to meet basic human needs is every person’s right. Alberta’s 6000 Registered Social Workers are advocates for fairness and social justice. Advocacy is a fundamental aspect of our professional ethics and at the heart of what we do. Registered Social Workers (RSW): The professional standard in social work
R U O B A L A T R E B L A E H T E T U T I T S N I Y R O T S I H OUR PAST TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE OM
LEARNING FR OM
ALHI is proud of its ongoing work with AUPE in support of the union’s centennial project. We also appreciate the strong support from AUPE activists and leaders for our efforts to preserve and make public the vital, rich historical contributions of Alberta’s working people.
The Alberta college of Social Workers regulates social work practice in Alberta. Its primary focus is to serve and protect the public interest by promoting skilled and ethical social work. www.acsw.ab.ca
Support Social Justice Education in Our Schools The Aspen Foundation brings community values of social justice and a respect for fairness and equality to the classroom. The Foundation for Labour Education works to educate youth to allow them to work, live, and participate fully in a democratic society. AFLE encourages the use of materials, resources, and speakers in our schools that reflect the best traditions in community values and democratic principles of our society.
How can I contribute? Please mail your charitable donation to: Aspen Foundation for Labour Education 11 Bonin Place, Leduc AB T9E 6H6 Charitable donations can be made online: www.canadahelps.org “Supporting Labour and Social Justice Education in our Schools”
For more information: Phone: 780-986-1745 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.afle.ca The Aspen Foundation for Labour Education is now a recognized charity by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (BN 881720510RR0001). You can support labour and social justice education in our schools with your charitable donation.
Points West Living receives millions in tax dollars to provide seniors care. Albertans are asking: where does that money go?
“Transparency shouldn’t be that hard when you are using tax funded dollars to run their business. The taxpayers have every right to know where all this money is going and what it is being used for at any time, and they should have access to the information.”
“The staffing levels that they have currently, the scabs that they brought in, aren’t doing half the job that the regular staff were. I don’t know what it’s going to take for them to open up their eyes and realize that the residents want the regular staff back.”
“Having worked in the health care field most of my life, my concerns are patient care. I don’t feel that it’s possible for one individual to do janitorial work, serve meals and cook meals in a kitchen and do laundry and still maintain quality patient care. “
“I lived there with my husband who had dementia and I saw many things going on that really needed improving. The worst one was the lack of staffing for the patients. A company that makes this much money should not have an issue with staffing and services.”
Vern Greene Cold Lake resident
Michele Taylor Cold Lake resident
Thelma Lapointe Cold Lake resident
Mildred Emery Cold Lake resident
Send a message at stoptheripoff.ca
www.aupe.org Publications Mail Agreement: 40065207 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO ALBERTA UNION OF PROVINCIAL EMPLOYEES, 10451 170 St. NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 4S7
Standing Strong in Cold Lake -- The Budget Squeeze -- Steward Notes -- and more!