United Nurses of Alberta expects its arbitration to proceed in accordance with the law

United Nurses of Alberta was informed today that the Government of Alberta has directed Alberta Health Services to change its bargaining position with UNA from a zero-per-cent increase to a wage rollback of 3 per cent, UNA President Heather Smith said.

Finance Minister Travis Toews later issued a news release stating that the Government of Alberta has revised its position and will now ask arbitrators to order an average 2 per cent rollback for all provincial public employees in various arbitrations.

“At this time our union is not involved in bargaining with the Government of Alberta and the government is not a party to the arbitration scheduled in our negotiations,” Smith said.

UNA’s arbitration with Alberta Health Services and other health care employers is set to take place on Nov. 22 and 23, she continued.

“We expect to proceed on those dates, and we anticipate the employer will bargain in good faith as required by law and that the arbitrator will conduct himself in accordance with the law,” she stated.

UNA is examining Minister Toews’ statement and carefully considering appropriate ways to ensure its members are treated fairly and mindfully of their fundamental rights in Canadian law. Further communications to UNA members and the public will be made soon.

Smith noted that the worldwide market for the services provided by Registered Nurses remains strong, and that a shortage of RNs already exists in Alberta.

United Nurses of Alberta represents more than 30,000 Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and allied health care workers in Alberta, a significant majority employed in the public sector.