AMA president unhappy with government over contract talks

EDMONTON — The president of the Alberta Medical Association is asking his members to “batten down the hatches” in the organization’s contract dispute with the province.

EDMONTON — The president of the Alberta Medical Association is asking his members to “batten down the hatches” in the organization’s contract dispute with the province.

Michael Giuffre released a letter to AMA members on Monday saying that Health Minister Fred Horne is refusing to withdraw a four-year, $463-million wage package imposed on Nov. 16.

Giuffre says until the pre-conditions of that deal are withdrawn, there will be no further talks between the two sides.

The letter comes after a weekend of talks between AMA and the government, with the objective of returning to the negotiating table.

But according to Giuffre, those discussions were not productive because the minister refuses to budge.

Horne says the government has tried to be reasonable and insists there is no imposed settlement.

“I was very clear last week after I met with Dr. Giuffre that we can talk about any issues at the negotiation table, but I needed the Alberta Medical Association to understand there’s a limit to the additional funding the government can contribute to this,” said Horne.

“That’s the only thing where I’ve asked for acknowledgement… I thought we left that meeting in a good position.”

Last week the two sides said they had agreed to seek mediation but Horne said the next move is now up to the doctors.

“For my part, I may have some difficulties at the moment in trying to work with the AMA but I will continue to work with physicians across Alberta,” he said.

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