Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Aims to Broaden Right to Strike with Essential Services Bill

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Aims to Broaden Right to Strike with Essential Services Bill

Article excerpt

Alberta proposes to broaden right to strike

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EDMONTON - Alberta has introduced legislation to expand the right to strike for about 150,000 public-sector employees.

Labour Minister Christina Gray said Tuesday the legislation would bring Alberta into compliance with a Supreme Court ruling last year.

"It is intended to balance the interests of employers and employees while protecting public health and safety," Gray told reporters after Bill 4 was introduced in the legislature.

"At the end of the day we want to ensure labour disputes are resolved in a timely manner with as little impact on the public as possible."

Alberta traditionally has banned strikes and lockouts involving public-sector workers, but the Supreme Court ruled that the right to strike is a fundamental right for unionized employees.

The bill sets out parameters for strikes while keeping essential services going in areas such as health and police services.

It supports the right to strike for all employees of government, Alberta Health Services, agencies, boards, commissions and non-academic staff at post-secondary institutions.

Nurses, paramedics, and correctional officers would be allowed to strike, but police and firefighters would not.

Police and firefighters will continue to use binding arbitration to resolve impasses in bargaining. …

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