On September 29, 2023, during negotiations around vote ratification and the framework of a potential plan to bring employees back to work in the event both sides ratified the tentative agreement, the City of Prince Albert’s negotiation team alerted the union about a number of sweeping technological, structural, and organizational changes.
The employer announced it intended to implement these changes immediately upon a return to work.
Under the Saskatchewan Employment Act, employers must give “written notice to the bargaining agent and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, when proposing an organizational change or technological change that will likely affect the terms, conditions, and tenure of employment of a significant number of employees.”
None of the proposed changes had been disclosed to the union prior to the September 29 negotiations. As a result of this last-minute disclosure, the union felt it had no choice but to notify the employer that they would be halting the ratification vote and destroying the ballots already cast. We cannot in good faith have our members carry out the vote knowing that the employer withheld vital information.
We are asking the employer to immediately return to the bargaining table, with the assistance of the special mediator, Kristin Anderson, to negotiate the newly identified proposals until the parties reach an agreement. The union will bring a new tentative agreement to the membership for a vote once these new proposals have been thoroughly vetted and bargained.
The union commenced job action on August 10, with a full withdrawal of services starting on September 11. The full withdrawal of services has impacted service levels at City Hall, EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, Frank Dunn Pool, Alfred Jenkins Field House, and the Art Hauser Centre.