Local AUPE protests wage discussion delays

The group picketed against Bill 9 at Stony Plain's WestView Health Centre.

Members of the local Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) were outside the WestView Health Centre today to protest a wage dispute.

The group who primarily included health care workers, says Alberta’s new Bill 9 is unconstitutional. The controversial bill initially pushed back wage arbitration talks from June 30 until Oct. 31. It’ll affect about 180,000 nurses, teachers, and government employees.

Vice President for AUPE, Bonnie Gostola, says she’s proud of the work the local group is doing.

“They have shown a great deal of resilience, they’re showing their anger. You can’t just take peoples’ rights away and expect that they’re not going to have any push-back,” she said. “Our members are telling this government that if they go ahead with this, that there’s no telling where the anger of our membership is going to lead,” said Gostola.

She says they plan to take further action.

“We are going to be taking this government to court, based on the unconstitutionality of this entire process. [It’s] to tell this government [United Conservative Party] that just because they have a majority government, that they cannot use the power of the state to break legally-binding contracts which are guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” she said.

“At the end of the day, we’re tax-payers too. To impose this type of restriction on workers who support this government as is, while at the same time providing tax breaks to profitable corporations, really isn’t fiscally-responsible and really can’t be justified,” said Gostola. 

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