PLEASE SEE BARGAINING UPDATES BELOW
In order to assist members with various issues, we are posting a few of our most frequently asked questions.
Can my manager ask for a sick note after only one day of illness? Yes. The employer is entitled to request satisfactory proof of illness. 29.04 (d) If proof is requested the employer is responsible to pay the fee. The request should be made on an individual basis, and not a blanket provision applied to a department.
Can the manager refuse to pay me sick time, if I do not give 2 hours notice when calling in sick? No. The sick time article does not allow them to refuse pay for not providing at least 2 hours notice. If they manager is refusing to pay, it is a form of discipline and you should contact the union to file a grievance. You should however try to give as much notice when calling in sick.
If I tell me manager I have a medical appointment, can they refuse to give me the time off for it? Yes, your manager may deny time off for medical appointments. Under the terms of the collective agreement, the employer requires advance notice, and has the right to approve or deny requests. The manager has the right to request you schedule the appointment for another time, for operational reasons. If the manger refuses to provide you leave for medical appointments, ask when a better time is to take the appointment. The manager may also request that you provide satisfactory proof of attendance at the appointment. 29.04 (e). If the manager continually denies all your requests for medical appointments contact a union steward for assistance.
Does my manager have to approve my vacation requests within a certain period of time? Yes. The manager is to provide a response to vacation requests within 14 days of the request being submitted, 28.03 (g). This only applies to ad hoc requests submitted after April 30th, outside the rules associated with the vacation planner.
Why does someone new to my department have more seniority than me? Seniority is based on the bargaining unit. This means, your seniority is based on the total time you have been employed with Alberta Health Services. When you are promoted or transferred your seniority will follow you anywhere within Alberta Health Services. Any break in service with AHS, will mean a new seniority date.
Am I required to provide proof of death in order to be granted and paid bereavement leave? The collective agreement does not provide language that allows the employer to request satisfactory proof of death. There maybe extenuating circumstances that would potentially allow managers to request proof, exercising their management rights, under Article 5 of the collective agreement. .
How many days do I get for bereavement leave? Bereavement leave is upon your request, (not necessarily as soon as you became aware) and is for 5 calendar days for most relatives. (Article 32.03 a – provides the details) Five calendar days begins as soon as you request the leave, and includes days off, and scheduled vacation. The employer is not required to change scheduled vacation to bereavement. The employer may grant up to one working day for another relative or close friend in to attend the funeral. Travel time may be granted but you must be travelling in order to be considered for the additional two days.
If my manager tells me to share my password, or remain logged in for another person to use, can I be disciplined? Yes. Under no circumstances should you share your passwords with anyone this includes your manager. You should not allow anyone to work under your sign on. Always log off, when you leave your computer. You are held 100 % responsible for anything done on the computer under your log in, regardless of whether it was you or someone else. If your manager is directing you to share your password, or directing you to remain logged in for others to use, report this immediately to the union or Human Resources. Your manager is in direct violation of Alberta Health Services if they are directing you to do the above.
Can I look up my information or someone else’s health information? Absolutely not! You sign an agreement upon commencing employment with Alberta Health Services. Only access information that is required for you to do your job. Nothing more. Curiosity can result in termination.
Can I bring a steward to every meeting with my manager? No. The role of a union steward is not to attend every meeting with your manager. A manager needs to manage the workplace, and will meet with employees for numerous reasons. You also need to be able to communicate with your manager. Meetings to discuss performance or requests for leave would be an example of situations where stewards are not required. A union steward is required when the meeting could lead to discipline. You can use any steward at any site.
Can I choose my union representation? Absolutely you can! It is completely your responsibility to arrange and select a union steward/representation. Under no circumstances should your manager or Human resources be arranging the union representation. If you arrive at a meeting and the Union Steward or Membership Services Officer is already present. You have a right to refuse that representation, and request the meeting be rescheduled allowing you time to find the representation of your choice. Recent arbitration awards support this. Discipline has been overturned due to the employer violating the Collective Agreement. Article 9.04
For what reasons can I take special leave days? Special leave days are for emergencies and family illness. (Unanticipated circumstances-emergencies) Special leave days cannot be prescheduled and you will be required to provide basic details for the need for special leave. You will not likely get a special leave day for planned surgery for a family member. You will also not likely be approved more than one day at a time. The employer is of the opinion that an emergency only lasts one day. Each case needs to be assessed on its own merits, and the union does not agree with the employers approach. Special leave days are granted at the discretion of the mangers, so one manager may approve for an emergency and another will deny for the exact same reason. If you are denied a special leave day, and believe it meets the requirements contact a union steward for assistance. There is no such provision or term called Personal Day under the Collective Agreement.
Can the employer change my rotation if I was hired full-time days? Your schedule can be changed at any time, as long as the manger provides sufficient notice and adheres to the provisions of the hours of work article. The employer is obligated to meet your FTE only and has the right to change schedules. You may have signed an offer letter, which outlined a particular schedule, but this does not override the employer’s right to change schedules.
I work part-time and do not want to work additional hours; do I have to when my manager asks? No. You are only required to work the hours of your FTE. If you want to work additional hours, it is your responsibility to provide availability. Additional hours are to be shared equally amongst those who have made themselves available.
I work in a department where we are assigned work areas, and my manager keeps pulling me from my regular area. Can I refuse? You cannot refuse assignment to another area. Refusing to do the work assigned could be considered insubordination. You do not own your area, only your FTE. The employer can have you report to different areas, and departments/classifications have you work a different site. This happens a great deal in community health and facilities management. If you disagree with being moved to another area, go do the work, and talk to the union after for advice.
I work 6-hour shifts. If my manager asks me to work 7.5 hours do I get overtime for the additional hours? No. Overtime is triggered once you exceed 7.75 hours in a day, and 77.50 hours in two weeks averaged over a shift cycle. You do not have to accept the additional hours.
Can my manager reduce my FTE? If the manager reduces your FTE in part or in whole, this is a lay-off. There is a process to follow, which requires the involvement of the Union and Human Resources. Contact the union immediately, if there is any discussion on reducing your FTE.
Can my manager deny my vacation request because I do not have the total hours of my request in my banks when I make the request? No. They need to determine if you will have the amount at the time you go on vacation. So, what you will have accrued by the time you start vacation. This is the total amount of both banks, current and next year. Reference the vacation article in the Collective Agreement, which can be found on the AUPE site, and AHS Iniste.
If I am successful on a new position and do not like it can I return to my former position? Yes. You can return to your former position within 465 hours or to a maximum of 6 months for a Part-time employee (see Article 17). The employer can also return you to your former position if they believe you are not the appropriate fit.
Can I return to my former position at the end of a Temporary position? Yes. Refer to Article 17
If I have an issue, complaint or grievance do I have a certain time line to address the problem? You cannot wait to raise an issue or problem. You need to identify the problem and seek resolution in a timely manner. A grievance needs to be filed within 10 days of becoming aware of the incident. For example, if you were wrongfully denied a special leave day, you cannot wait months to bring the issue forward. If you are paid incorrectly, you need to address it immediately. You have a responsibility to review your pay stubs when issued. You also have a responsibility to know the collective agreement. If there has been a violation, address it immediately with a union steward. A grievance is not a “bad” thing and is not perceived as “rocking the boat”. A grievance allows for a formal discussion, and opportunity to resolve an issue or correct how a manager is applying the collective agreement. The collective agreement is to be followed by both parties, as both parties voted and agreed on those terms. Grievances also allow the union to identify and track issues that need to be addressed in collective bargaining.
JUNE 25, 2014
ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES – GENERAL SUPPORT SERVICES
Our bargaining unit is a vital part of Alberta’s health-care system. We deserve to be treated with value and respect by Alberta Health Services for the important work we do every day.
Your bargaining committee met with the employer June 11, 12, 13, 17 and 18 in Edmonton to continue negotiations for your next collective agreement.
During bargaining, the employer proposed greater control over staff overtime, named holidays, scheduling, vacations and sick time.
The employer’s rationale for this approach was that it was “easier” for management, which demonstrates a lack of respect and understanding these provisions have on employees’ quality of life.
It is confusing AHS would choose to start bargaining by putting forward the same proposals which led to tremendous province-wide conflict in 2012.
It’s your committee’s hope that the employer will reconsider these proposals when bargaining resumes in the fall.
During negotiations, Alberta Health Services brought a profile of our bargaining unit.
Who we are:
• AHS GSS average weekly earnings: $547; Alberta average weekly earnings: $1,108
• 83% are female
• Average earnings 0.6 of Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
• Average hourly rate: $23
• Average FTE (0.57) combined with average hourly ($23/hr) = average hourly wage adjusted
to a FTE of $14.12
• Low overtime costs
• Low sick time percentage, just 3.06%
Moving into monetary items this fall, we’re hopeful Alberta Health Services will recognize that AHS GSS employees, who are vastly female, hover around the poverty line. This is simply not acceptable in a province like Alberta and needs to be addressed at the bargaining table.
The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Alberta will lead the nation with average wage increases of 3.7 per cent this year. In addition, the provincial government predicts Alberta Average Weekly Earnings (AAWE) to also increase by more than three per cent each year for the next three years.
Alberta’s economy is robust. A fair and reasonable collective agreement is warranted and based in fiscal reality.
Moreover, in February, Alberta received a $1.03 billion health transfer from the federal government to help fund the provincial health-care system.
The profile provided by AHS also shows a low rate of overtime cost and low utilization rates of sick time. Provisions by Alberta Health Services to introduce greater limitations on both are unnecessary and would only serve to harm the relationship.
It was also revealed that AHS has no reports readily available to trace the recruitment or retention of AHS GSS employees. That’s troubling because GSS employees are essential components to a well functioning health-care system and attracting and retaining quality employees is key to the system’s success. A fair and rational collective agreement is a major factor in the recruitment and retention of quality staff to do the jobs needed.
The following bargaining dates are set for:
• September 16, 17, 18
• October 7, 8
• November 25, 26
• December 10, 11
We’re hopeful that with new leadership, Alberta Health Services will focus on relationship building throughout this round of negotiations instead of confrontation, which history proves only leads to conflict.
Your committee is committed to keeping you informed throughout the entire bargaining process.
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of your committee with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
Your bargaining committee:
Your bargaining committee is committed to keeping you informed throughout the entire bargaining process.
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of your committee with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
AUPE Staff Negotiator 1-800-232-7284 firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBERTA UNION OF PROVINCIAL EMPLOYEES
ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES – GENERAL SUPPORT SERVICES May 1, 2014
On April 24 and 25 your AHS-GSS bargaining committee met with representatives of Alberta Health Services in Edmonton to begin bargaining your next collective bargaining agreement.
We took the rather unusual step of sharing with the employer some striking results from our bargaining survey, in which 78% of respondents stated that they did not agree that “internal communications is handled well by AHS” and 81% did not agree that “senior leadership has the right goals for AHS and can work to achieve them.” We communicated our hope that these pervasive levels of dissatisfaction could be addressed through bargaining once we resume negotiations in June.
Your committee was initially dismayed when AHS opened with a number of proposals affecting hours of work and local scheduling provisions. When we responded on the second day of bargaining, we conveyed our concern that they chose to open with a return to proposals that members have clearly indicated in the past were of great concern and deeply affected their quality of life.
The employer quickly reassured us that it was not their intention to risk souring the tenor of negotiations so early by pursuing those issues aggressively. They removed some of their opening proposals and assured us that they would engage us differently when we resume bargaining.
Our next round of bargaining, which will take place June 10, 11, 12, 17, and 18, will be in the context of new leadership for AHS. A new President and Chief Executive Officer will lead AHS when Vickie Kaminski officially takes on the role beginning June 2.
We are hopeful AHS will reflect carefully on their opening proposals before we resume bargaining in this new context. We are encouraged by Premier Hancock’s recent comments calling for improvements in the nature of labour relations in Alberta, and we remain optimistic that this bargaining table can set an example for such improvements.
When we resume bargaining in June, we will return to the clear direction you provided in our bargaining survey calling for us to address the following issues, in addition to salaries:
Pension plans (potential reductions)
Reclassification (changes to your job)
Flex spending account
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
10451 - 170 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 4S7 T: 1-800-232-7284 F: (780) 930-3392 www.aupe.org
MAY 1, 2014
054, 056, 057, 058 & 095