July 3, 2019 6:28 pm

‘Furious’ health care workers protest Alberta government’s Bill 9 in Calgary

AUPE union workers and allies rallied at Foothills Medical Centre on Wednesday in protest of Bill 9.

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Hundreds of health care support workers took a stand against the Alberta government’s plan to put off wage negotiations in Calgary on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Alberta nurses launching legal challenge of province’s wage arbitration bill

AUPE union workers and allies rallied over the noon hour at Foothills Medical Centre in protest of Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act.

AUPE union workers and allies rallied at Foothills Medical Centre on Wednesday in protest of Bill 9.

Global News

The legislation is focused on deferring wage arbitration, even though the talks are built into some already existing public sector contracts.

“Workers, front line workers in government services, the health care system, in post-secondary, in bulletin agencies are furious with the Alberta government for basically introducing and passing legislation [that] takes away their legally binding rights to discuss arbitrated potential wage increases for the third year of their contract,” said AUPE president Guy Smith.

“This is something that was negotiated in good faith, and the power of the state the governments taking that right away.”

READ MORE: Alberta finance minister won’t guarantee delayed union arbitration will occur

The union has filed a statement of claim at the Court of Queen’s Bench with a hearing scheduled later this month.

After offering his appreciation of public sector workers, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a scrum Wednesday that this bill is not about wages — it’s about deferring arbitration.

“Bill 9 is simply a delay in arbitration so that we can make better-informed decisions on behalf of all Albertans including the public sector,” he said.

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