Members of United Nurses of Alberta have ratified a new collective agreement with Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Lamont Health Care and The Bethany Group.

The vote on the new contract came after “one of the most protracted and difficult negotiations in the provincial nursing union’s 44-year history,” UNA said in a news release on Thursday.

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In January 2020, AHS negotiators tabled a four-year agreement with a zero percent salary increase for nurses each year.

The union, which represents more than 30,000 Alberta nurses, said there were other cuts, such as the elimination of semi-annual lump sum payments, as well as reduced shift and weekend premiums.

UNA added that employers have returned to current overtime stipulations as well as transport and education allowances.

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At the time, Finance Minister Travis Toews praised the ‘invaluable role’ nurses played in the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted that Alberta needs to get its finances back on track.

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In August, they requested formal mediation.

The mediator’s recommendations included: a salary increase over the life of the four-year contract, which is 4.15 percent; a one-time lump sum payment of one percent of 2021 “in recognition of nurses’ contribution during the pandemic” and improved psychological support; creating a rural capacity investment fund, which allocates $ 5 million per year to recruitment and retention strategies in rural areas and $ 2.5 million per year for relocation assistance.


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“The bargaining committee felt strongly that the mediator’s recommendation issued on December 21 was a fair agreement that would benefit our members and also be fair to the people of Alberta,” UNA President Heather Smith said on January 27. .

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“I am glad that the members agreed with the bargaining committee’s recommendation and voted by 87 percent to ratify this agreement.”

The union said the new agreement, which runs from April 2020 to March 31, 2024, includes:

  • 4.25% wage increases over the life of the agreement.
  • Conversion of current semi-annual lump sum payments to the payroll.
  • One-off lump sum payment of 1% for 2021 in recognition of nurses’ contributions during the pandemic.
  • Improved psychological and mental health support.
  • Creation of a trade union employer provincial workload advisory committee.
  • Implementation of a rural capacity investment fund, which will allocate $ 5 million per year to recruitment and retention strategies in rural and remote areas of the province, and $ 2.5 million per year for resettlement assistance.

“Alberta Health Services’ willingness to move away from its initial demands for wage cuts and to abandon its efforts to institute more than 200 reimbursements has made this agreement possible,” said David Harrigan, director of labor relations at UNA , said.

The confirmation vote was done online on January 25 and 26 and the results were counted on Thursday morning.

Global News reached out to the province for comment. This article will be updated when a reply is received.


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