Alberta may discipline some jail guards who took part in strike

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is suggesting it may discipline some jail guards who took part in an illegal strike, a move their union says would threaten labour peace.

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is suggesting it may discipline some jail guards who took part in an illegal strike, a move their union says would threaten labour peace.

Deputy solicitor general Tim Grant says there’s a report that some guards who left their posts at the new Edmonton Remand Centre when the strike began may have put inmates, managers and other guards in danger.

“This incident will be investigated and dealt with appropriately,” Grant wrote in a statement released Thursday.

Grant, a former Canadian Forces major-general who commanded troops in Afghanistan, did not say what “appropriately” means.

He said it is not the government’s intention to seek retribution against guards who “just participated in the illegal strike.”

Grant said he met with guards at the new $580-million facility twice on Wednesday to discuss what he called issues of concern and was to meet with staff again Thursday.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said the threat of discipline breaks a promise of amnesty the government made that helped end the almost five-day strike at 10 correctional facilities across the province.

Premier Alison Redford confirmed that pledge, but also suggested it might not apply to all union members.

“We certainly did say to the union that we were going to make sure there were no acts of retribution,” Redford said.

“I think the deputy minister of the solicitor general was very clear today … that if there were acts that were committed that put people’s safety at risk, than those needed to be dealt with at a management level.”

Redford declined to say whether any of the guards could lose their jobs

Union president Guy Smith said the government’s conduct is inflaming a volatile situation at the remand centre. He accused Grant of taunting guards at the jail instead of dealing with their safety concerns.

Smith said the union has filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board, which was to hear it late Thursday afternoon.

The union is seeking a cease-and-desist order against the government and a directive to order Grant to retract statements that he made to some guards, he said.

“We are doing everything we can to calm the waters and instead the government is throwing gas onto the fire. It is really dangerous and irresponsible,” Smith said.

“The very first thing the deputy solicitor general should have dealt with is the health and safety concerns that drove members to take action in the first place. Instead, he has been inflaming raw emotions and threatening labour peace with his actions.”

The union and government came to an agreement Tuesday night to end the strike and workers returned to their jobs Wednesday.

The province has said the strike by guards, along with other walkouts in their support by Justice Department staff such as sheriffs and court clerks, cost taxpayers $1.3 million because RCMP officers and municipal police had to staff jails and courthouses. The government has announced plans to recoup more than $6 million in financial losses.

The province has also filed a notice that it plans to stop deducting dues for the union for six months.

Unions depend on dues to finance most of their operations. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees represents more than 22,000 government workers.

“It would have an impact on the operation of the union, but we will fight it in the courts where we can,” Smith said.

Just Posted

Downtown Red Deer was packed with people who lined the streets to watch the Westerner Days parade on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Westerner Days parade cancelled, full details on modified event coming June 28

The 2021 edition of Westerner Days will look much different than any… Continue reading

City council wants to hear from the public at a May 25 hearing about whether the temporary homeless shelter should be allowed to remain in the downtown for another year. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer staff to recommend another extension to allow operations at current temporary shelter site

Following some more research city administration has received no other new locations… Continue reading

A scene from the short Western ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws,’ written and directed by Jason Steele, with support from Telus Storyhive. (Contributed image)
Red Deerians make ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws’ short Western film

Writer and director Jason Steele received a $20,000 Storyhive grant from Telus

Residents in several neighbourhoods reported little to no water pressure Tuesday night. (File photo by Advocate staff)
City hall to reopen for payments and customer service

Red Deer City Hall will reopen on June 21 for utility and… Continue reading

Char Rausch was selected as this year’s recipient of the Bob Stollings Award, which goes to an employee who has displayed outstanding civic performance in alignment with The City’s Cornerstone Values – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
Char Rausch wins City of Red Deer Bob Stollings Award

The City of Red Deer is honouring employees differently this year. With… Continue reading

Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday, June 18, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bland leads at Torrey and shows the US Open is truly open

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most… Continue reading

The Prime Minister's car waits outside the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg Tuesday, May 19, 2009. The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is showing no sign he'll release unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory — despite the prospect of being publicly shamed in the House of Commons for his refusal to turn them over. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
PHAC head maintains he’s bound by law not to release docs on fired scientists

OTTAWA — The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is… Continue reading

Various vaping nicotine e-liquids or "juice" are shown in a lab at Portland State University in in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products… Continue reading

A supporter of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi holds a sign during a rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Iran's clerical vetting committee has allowed just seven candidates for the Friday, June 18, ballot, nixing prominent reformists and key allies of President Hassan Rouhani. The presumed front-runner has become Ebrahim Raisi, the country's hard-line judiciary chief who is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in a presidential… Continue reading

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, left, and President Seiko Hashimoto attend the news conference after receiving a report from a group of infectious disease experts on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Tokyo. The experts including Shigeru Omi, head of a government coronavirus advisory panel, issued a report listing the risks of allowing the spectators and the measurements to prevent the event from triggering a coronavirus spread. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)
Top medical adviser says ‘no fans’ safest for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is… Continue reading

FILE - In this June 12, 2021, file photo, Rajkumar Haryani, 38, who painted his body to create awareness about vaccination against the coronavirus poses for photographs after getting a dose of Covishield vaccine in Ahmedabad, India. Starting June 21, 2021, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal announced last week ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in accessing vaccines. India is a key global supplier of vaccines and its missteps have left millions of people waiting unprotected. The policy change is likely to address inequality but questions remain and shortages will continue. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
How India is changing vaccine plan amid shortages

NEW DELHI (AP) — Starting Monday, every adult in India will be… Continue reading

Chief of Defence staff General Jonathan Vance speaks during a news conference to , in Ottawa Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces says it is making progress in the fight against sexual misconduct in the ranks, but much more work needs to be done. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Freeze promotions until military commanders are screened for misconduct: Committee

OTTAWA — A parliamentary committee has called for a freeze on all… Continue reading

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Hussen says he is looking to municipalities to reshape local rules to more quickly build units through the government's national housing strategy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Cities should redo planning, permitting to align with housing strategy, minister says

OTTAWA — The federal minister in charge of affordable housing says he… Continue reading

Most Read