Alberta Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Travis Toews speaks during a press conference in Edmonton, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have ratified a new collective agreement with the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Public sector union ratifies collective agreement with Alberta government

Public sector union ratifies collective agreement with Alberta government

EDMONTON — Members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have ratified a new collective agreement with the province.

The public sector union, which represents about 22,000 direct government workers, says in a news release that about 46 per cent of those eligible to vote cast ballots and, of those, 91 per cent voted in favour of the deal.

It says the four-year agreement includes employment security and wage raises.

Treasury Board President and Finance Minister Travis Toews says in a release that he’s pleased members voted to accept the mediator’s recommendation.

Toews says the government’s goal was to bring spending in line with other provinces and the deal accomplishes that.

He notes the agreement also recognizes the province’s long-term economic outlook and has pay increases in the third and fourth year of the contract.

“I am hopeful that other public sector unions will look to this successful process, and that bargaining will proceed constructively across the broader public sector,” Toews said in the release.

“The government respects the hard work and dedication of Alberta’s Public Service employees and their contribution to our province.”

The union said the agreement contains employment security for permanent staff until the end of next December, and a 1.23 per cent salary increase starting in January 2023.

There will also be a 1.5 per cent minimum wage hike in September 2023, as well as an additional 0.5 per cent increase based on economic factors, the union said.

Employees who perform duties as part of the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response force, as a result of the significant expansion of policing duties, responsibilities and risks, are to get an eight per cent wage hike retroactive to April 1.

“While these negotiations proceeded, our members have worked through a deadly global pandemic while continuing to provide vital services to Albertans,” AUPE president Guy Smith said in a statement.

The union said the government withdrew concessions it had been seeking, including a four per cent wage rollback, elimination of job security and reductions in overtime pay.

The agreement is to expire March 31, 2024.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Union wage deals