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Alberta nurses one step closer to contract agreement with AHS

Click to play video: 'Alberta nurses one step closer to new agreement with province' Alberta nurses one step closer to new agreement with province
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's nurses are now one step closer toward signing a contract with the province; one that includes financial compensation for their work during the pandemic. Sarah Ryan has the details – Dec 22, 2021

It appears Alberta nurses are one step closer to reaching a contract deal with Alberta Health Services.

The United Nurses of Alberta negotiating committee is calling on union members to ratify a mediator’s recommendations for a new collective agreement with AHS.

Read more: New proposal eliminates some wage rollbacks for Alberta nurses as negotiations continue

The recommendations include a pay increase over the life of the four-year contract that amounts to 4.15 per cent, according to the union. The term of the agreement would be from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024.

Other pieces of the proposed contract include a one-time lump-sum payment of one per cent of 2021 “in recognition of nurses’ contribution during the pandemic” and enhanced psychological supports.

In addition, a Rural Capacity Investment Fund will be created, allocating $5 million a year to recruitment and retention strategies in rural and remote areas. Upwards of $2.5 million per year will be allocated for relocation assistance, the union said.

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Read more: UNA receives confirmation Alberta hiring contract nurses to address staffing shortage

“This agreement recognizes the hard work and sacrifices of Alberta’s registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses throughout the pandemic,” UNA president Heather Smith said in a news release Wednesday.

“Our members and their colleagues have been holding Alberta’s health-care system together, and it is relief to have reached an agreement with the assistance of the government-appointed mediator.”

Read more: United Nurses of Alberta says AHS seeking 4-year wage freeze, premium rollbacks

Click to play video: 'New proposal eliminates some wage rollbacks for Alberta nurses as negotiations continue' New proposal eliminates some wage rollbacks for Alberta nurses as negotiations continue
New proposal eliminates some wage rollbacks for Alberta nurses as negotiations continue – Sep 8, 2021

Minister of Treasury Board and Finance Travis Toews issued a statement Wednesday saying this step comes after months of negotiations.

“I respect the frontline and unique clinical role nurses have played — and continue to play — during the COVID pandemic. This deal recognizes their hard work and dedication, and the many sacrifices nurses have made since the pandemic began,” Toews said.

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“If ratified, this deal will form the basis for labour stability in the health-care system.”

Read more: Nurses’ union calls Alberta finance minister hypocritical in contract talks

The minister said he looks forward to the results of the ratification vote.

In addition to RNs and RPNs employed by AHS, the agreement covers those employed by Covenant Health, Lamont Health Care and The Bethany Group. UNA represents more than 30,000 RNs and RPNs in Alberta.

A ratification vote is scheduled to take place on Jan. 17.

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