Last week, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced that Covenant Health auxiliary nursing care workers had voted in favour of the new collective agreement that the AUPE their bargaining team had negotiated.
Covenant Health is a Catholic healthcare organizations that operates 17 hospitals and care centres in 12 Alberta communities: Banff, Bonnyville, Camrose, Castor, Edmonton, Killam, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Mundare, St. Albert, Trochu, and Vegreville.
The previous agreement expired on 31 March 2020.
Bargaining had originally began in February 2020. AUPE had proposed a 2.5% wage increase for each of the 4 years of the new contract to keep up with inflation.
The employer responded with a general wage freeze for the same period. Plus they asked for some workers to take on salary rollbacks as high as 20%.
Covenant Health also wanted to cut the flexible spending accounts from $1,100 down to $850, and they proposed the following cuts to shift differentials and premiums.
|Evening shift differential||$2.75/hr||$1.86/hr|
|Night shift differential||$5.00/hr||$2.85/hr|
|Start time for evening differential||15:00||19:00|
|Weekend premium window||64 hours||48 hours|
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed bargaining for another 11 months, tentatively scheduled to resume in January 2021; however, that was delayed for another month because Covenant had changed their bargaining team, and the new team members claimed they needed more time to become familiar with the proposals.
Bargaining continued over the next several months, with the final sessions occurring in the middle of last month.
This week’s announcement showed that AUPE auxiliary nursing care workers will get less than they had originally proposed but more than the wage freezes in Covenant’s original proposal.
|Effective date||Wage increase|
|1 Apr 2020||0.00%|
|1 Oct 2021||1.00%|
|1 Sep 2022||1.25%|
|1 Apr 2023||2.00%|
The AUPE bargaining team managed to negotiate a one-time one-time premium payment of 1.0% for all hours actually worked between 1 January and 31 December 2021. As well, if the agreement is approved, workers who have been with Covenant Health for 20 years or more will receive an additional 2% wage increase.
The ratification process took place over 2 weeks, with the negotiating team visiting 14 worksites throughout the provinces with ballot boxes.
The new agreement will be in effect until 31 March 2024 and retroactive to 1 April 2020.