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Talks between Alberta and AUPE hit the ditch again over money issues

EDMONTON - Talks between Alberta and its largest public sector union have hit the ditch again over money. Negotiations broke off this week after the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees rejected a four-year deal that would have offered more one-time lump sum cash. AUPE President Guy Smith said Thursday those hikes need to be made permanent, especially in a province where rising oil prices are expected to deliver an extra $2.2 billion this year alone. "(We) need those increases on the (pay) grid," said Smith in an interview.

Talks between Alberta and AUPE hit the ditch again over money issues

EDMONTON - Talks between Alberta and its largest public sector union have hit the ditch again over money. The province has offered more money in a lump sum to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, but the union says it wants pay increases to be built into a new contract. AUPE president Guy Smith says the province is still demanding wage freezes in the first two years of a four-year contract, despite the lump-sum payments.

Redford backs controversial bargaining law that judge says stripped union rights

CALGARY - Alberta Premier Alison Redford is standing behind a controversial law that a judge says may violate the basic bargaining rights of the province's largest public-sector union. "We believe the legislation that we passed is appropriate,” Redford said Tuesday. She said her government won't revisit the Public Service Salary Restraint Act, even though Justice Denny Thomas suspended the law last week pending a charter challenge from the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, or AUPE.

Judge grants injunction against Alberta labour law that forces contracts

EDMONTON - An Alberta judge excoriated Premier Alison Redford's government Friday for what he described as deceptive, high-handed, unfair bargaining tactics designed to "emasculate" its largest public-sector union. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Denny Thomas ordered a freeze on a controversial law that was set to impose an austere four-year wage deal on the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees while revoking its right to binding arbitration.

Alberta gov't extends bargaining deadline with civil servants to March 31

EDMONTON - The Alberta government has extended its bargaining deadline with the union representing civil servants. Deputy Premier Dave Hancock said Thursday the cabinet passed an order in council that extends the deadline to March 31. The Conservative government passed a law last month forcing a four-year deal on the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees if an agreement wasn't reached by Friday. Hancock said the government extended the deadline because it is — quote — "keen" to reach a negotiated settlement with its 22,000 employees.

Alberta judge issues stay on legislation that would impose contract on union

EDMONTON - An Alberta judge has issued a temporary stay on legislation that would impose a contract on 22,000 government workers at the end of the month if a negotiated deal isn't reached. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is challenging the Public Service Salary Restraint Act in Court of Queen's Bench. A union official says the Court of Queen's Bench judge has put the legislation on hold until Feb. 14 at noon to give him time to consider all the arguments presented in the case.

AUPE president says concessions made in contract talks, but won't sign 'bad deal'

EDMONTON - The head of Alberta's largest public-sector union says workers have made significant concessions in contract talks, but the government has not reciprocated. Guy Smith of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says the AUPE has reduced its demands for wage increases and has agreed to other changes in contract language to get a new collective agreement. "We've made it very clear to them that we cannot go down any further," Smith said Friday. "We made significant movement. In fact the government negotiator actually acknowledged that.

Arbitrator overturns firing of Alberta jail guards after illegal strike

EDMONTON - An arbitrator has overturned the firing of four Alberta jail guards who were part of an illegal strike last year. Andrew Sims has ruled the guards should instead receive unpaid suspensions of between one and three months. Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said Thursday that the workers want to get back as soon as possible to their supervisor jobs at the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre. Three of the guards were dismissed last July; the fourth was let go in September.

Two big Alberta public sector unions challenging new labour legislation

EDMONTON - Two big Alberta public sector unions are moving ahead with challenges to new provincial labour legislation. The United Nurses of Alberta filed a statement of claim Wednesday saying Bill 45, which bans strikes by some unions, violates freedoms guaranteed under the Charter of Rights. The union, which represents almost 30,000 registered nurses and other health staff, has asked the Court of Queen's Bench to throw out parts of the legislation, which received royal assent last month, but has not yet been proclaimed.

Hearing into controversial labour law in Alberta delayed 1 day by travel problems

EDMONTON - A hearing to deal with a labour law that imposes a contract on Alberta government employees will start one day late. The Alberta Labour Board hearing was to begin Tuesday to deal with the Public Service Salary Restraint Act, which came into force on Dec. 11. The union representing 22,000 government workers, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, claims the law is an unfair labour practice because it takes away the union's right to arbitration.
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