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Edmonton 46 general service support employees at the Didsbury Hospital have applied to become members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The move was made prior to the Alberta Labour Relations Board ordered vote for union representation.

These workers have said clearly that they want CUPE to be their union. And because they were not organized at the time Bill 27 was passed they will not get a ballot from the Labour Board this month for the region-wide vote, said Dianne Wyntjes, CUPE Alberta Regional Director.

We are demonstrating with this application that Bill 27 cannot take away the right of these workers to union representation. But they are being denied the right to a vote. This situation is an example of the travesty of Bill 27, she added.

Bill 27 is the recent provincial legislation aimed at streamlining the bargaining process in the nine regional health authorities. Union members are being asked to vote for the union of their choice in order to have one bargaining certificate for each of four occupational groups in each health region.

CUPE, as part of the Alberta Federation of Labour coalition on Bill 27, has joined several other health care unions in filing a legal challenge to Bill 27 under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The participating groups are the Alberta Federation of Labour, The United Nurses of Alberta, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union and the International Union of Operating Engineers. Alberta is one of the few provinces that is signatory to the side agreement under NAFTA on labour rights.

The hospital workers in Didsbury are a clear example of the way this government wants to run roughshod over the labour rights of health care workers, said CUPE Alberta President Bruce McLeod.

Bill 27 denies due process on enshrined labour rights and contravenes the NAFTA agreement. By working with other health care unions we are presenting a significant challenge to the government and asserting the rights of labour, said McLeod.

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CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 32,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca.

For more information:
Pam Beattie, CUPE Communications (780) 484-7644 or (780) 288-1230 (cellular)