Talks stall for 22,000 AHS support workers, including 2,800 in Central Alberta

The union representing 22,000 general support services workers at Alberta Health Services, including 2,800 workers at Central Alberta hospitals and care centres, is seeking mediation after contract negotiations stalled on Tuesday.

The union representing 22,000 general support services workers at Alberta Health Services, including 2,800 workers at Central Alberta hospitals and care centres, is seeking mediation after contract negotiations stalled on Tuesday.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees represents general support services workers in 120 occupations like clerical and computer support, maintenance, food and nutrition, housekeeping and laundry employees.

The contract for support services workers, who are almost comparable in numbers to registered nurses in Alberta, ended March 31.

AUPE negotiator Kevin Davediuk said the last contract combined all general support services workers in the province after AHS was created and lacked sensitivity to rural workers who used to be able to combine part-time jobs to get more hours of work.

Now rural workplaces are prevented from using those creative solutions that triggered modest benefits and helped retain workers, he said.

“Somebody worked laundry on Monday. They’d work two days in food services. On Thursday they’d work in the stock room,” Davediuk said.

Workers are also looking for basic improvements like consistent shift start times and breaks and standard vacation approval procedures.

“They are really looking for equitable treatment with their peers elsewhere in Alberta Health Services, especially on quality of life and working conditions.”

Pay has not yet been discussed.

It will take the AUPE a few days to submit a request for a provincial mediator.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com