Tentative deal reached between AHS and health workers’ union, includes 2-year wage freeze

File photo of a pharmacist.
File photo of a pharmacist. File Photo / Getty Images

The union representing 19,000 health workers in Alberta — including paramedics, dialysis technicians, psychologists and pharmacists — says it has agreed to a tentative three-year deal with Alberta Health Services that would see a wage freeze imposed on its members for the first two years. The deal includes “an agreement to look at wages again in the third year, early in 2019.”

The tentative agreement was announced by the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) on its website on Monday.

“The bargaining teams for the union and employer worked into the weekend and wrapped up a tentative deal that addresses the top concerns of our members,” said Mike Parker, president of HSAA. “We are now working hard to get the details of the agreement to our members and will be organizing a ratification vote to be held in the next month.”

While details of the tentative deal were not released, Parker said “the tentative agreement brings some real improvements to work-life balance issues for our members, and some improvements to benefits for which we’ve been advocating for many years.”

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Parker added the proposed zero-per-cent-increases for the first two years follows “the model reached by other public-sector unions.”

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“We consulted widely with our members before heading into this round of negotiations,” he said. “The message we got from them was clear. They recognize the financial challenges facing this province. They also told us conditions at work have become increasingly difficult and wanted to see improvements to work conditions that will allow them to do their jobs and take care of patients. We think this deal goes a long way to helping both situations.”

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The tentative agreement runs from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2020.