LETHBRIDGE – Members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) who work at the University of Lethbridge will rally today between noon and 1 p.m. to raise awareness of the employer’s frustrating actions during bargaining.
Media, workers, students, and community members are invited to attend. The rally will be at 7 University Drive W.
“AUPE members at the University of Lethbridge have been fighting hard for a collective agreement, but recently reached an impasse with the employer,” said AUPEVice-President Susan Slade, who represents members in southern Alberta.
“There are approximately 500 members of AUPE Local 053 working on the front lines at the University of Lethbridge, and they are rallying to remind their employer that they deserve to be treated with fairness, dignity, and equity,” said Slade.
As of their last fiscal budget, the University of Lethbridge had accumulated a surplus of $206 million. Given that circumstance, AUPE members have been bargaining for modest wage increases to keep up with the rising costs of living. However, the employer has said its surplus money can not be used to support the needs of the Local 053 membership.
“The employer is in a position to do what’s right by their front-line workers,” said Slade. “It is disappointing that they chose not to.”
The workers are also looking to see improvements to contracting out language, job classifications, flex spending accounts, and working hours for security staff.
The bargaining committee has now applied for third-party mediation.
AUPE is Alberta’s largest union, standing over 95,000 members strong. Approximately 11,000 members work in the education sector.