Finance Minister Joe Ceci, who is responsible for the public service, thanked the negotiators and Sims for the work they have done to reach an agreement. After all, this was the first round of negotiations in Alberta since Peter Lougheed was Prime Minister that public employees had constitutionally recognized their right to collective bargaining, including the right to strike. It goes without saying that a stoppage of work in the public service, while highly unlikely, would have been a disaster for the government and probably also for the union. If this is the case, this agreement with the AUPE will probably not give much to the opposition to get its teeth out of the world. We can also be very sure that Premier Rachel Notley`s government is breathing a modest sigh of relief at reaching an agreement with this group of workers that often serves as an ideological lightning rod for right-wing opponents of the NDP government in particular and government services in general. Whatever you call it, political opponents of the Alberta NDP will make efforts like dogs to put their teeth in the details of the treaty and attack the government by saying it is too rich. The master agreement between the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Provincial Employees Association is a legally binding contract between the parties. It sets a deadline for the agreed duration of the collective agreement. The ancillary agreements contain additional details specific to certain groups of employees. But if I were to speculate, I predict that there will be no wage increase in the first two years — colloquially, and rather illogical in labour relations, called «zero percent increase» — and a «re-opening of wages» last year. A new wage start, often negotiated by public sector unions in this province, does exactly what it says: it allows for new wage negotiations, while everyone agrees to leave all other aspects of the agreement intact.
The Alberta government, with the help of a mediator, has reached a preliminary agreement with 23,000 members of its largest union, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). I think it is probably because it is exactly the kind of agreement signed this year by major health unions like the Alberta Health Sciences Association and the United Nurses of Alberta. Similarly, the Alberta Teachers` Association last year agreed to a two-year contract with no pay increase, not to mention the re-opening of salary. But with a public service agreement, these agreements may soon follow and include a season of negotiation in the public sector, sometimes in political danger for the PND. These are the group of public employees, whom the union specifically calls «the advance of public service employees,» right-wing ideological enemies of public services, misrepresented as «bureaucrats,» and many others known for the old-fashioned but honourable term «public servant.» The collective agreement has expired and is currently being renegotiated by the Alberta government and the Alberta Provincial Employees Association. As a result, printed copies of the agreement are not currently distributed. The digital copy of the Master Agreement, effective November 4, 2018, is available on collective-agreement.alberta.ca The government requested mediation at the end of May, after a year of negotiations without agreement. The trial began in June with the help of mediator Andy Sims. The government had made it clear that it did not want a pay increase, much like agreements with the Alberta Teachers` Association, the Alberta Nurses and the Alberta Health Sciences Association. The government has forecast a debt of $96 billion in 2023. Finance Minister Joe Ceci also praised Sims in the government`s equally uns informative press release «for its efforts to support the parties through the negotiation process.» The Government of Alberta and the Alberta Provincial Employees Association announced yesterday that they have signed a preliminary agreement for a new collective agreement for the approximately 23,000 union members who work directly for the government