By Heather Smith
President, United Nurses of Alberta
When United Nurses of Alberta enters negotiations for a new collective agreement, “we say what we mean, and we mean what we say.”
This is because every one of the contract proposals we put forward comes from UNA members and truly represents our needs and aspirations.
During Nurses Week 2023, I want to stress to you the importance of your input into the bargaining process as we prepare to enter negotiations in 2024. (In my President’s Message in the latest edition of UNA NewsBulletin I also talked about the impending provincial election. That edition of NewsBulletin is also available on your UNA smartphone app.)
Our negotiating process starts with you, individual members, submitting individual proposals.
This year, UNA has created an on-line version of the member bargaining survey that will soon be shared with UNA Locals. Your input will be provided to your Local leadership, who will use it to develop Local proposals. Those Local proposals must be supported by two-thirds of the members who attend your Local Demand Setting Meeting.
Your Local proposals and proposals from all other UNA locals involved in Provincial Negotiations are reviewed by the Provincial Negotiating Committee to develop recommendations to the Provincial Demand Setting Meeting (DSM), which will be held November 20-22, 2023.
By attending your Local meeting in advance of the Provincial DSM and providing direction to your Local delegates, you have a say in determining UNA’s “Ingoing Proposal Package,” which will be presented to employers. That package will be subject to a full membership ratification vote in January 2024.
So your participation at each step is critical. Please share and discuss the recommended proposal at every step with your co-workers. Please attend Local meetings and provide your input.
Much has changed in our province, in our worklife and our profession. These are challenges we need to face together.
This Nurses Week I urge you to ensure your voice is heard. We truly want to mean what we say.