Alberta health-care workers employed at DynaLIFE could face job action up to and including a lockout, according to union officials. The Union of Healthcare Professionals says workers are asking for fair wages and a return to bargaining after a year of negotiation led to an impasse.
DynaLIFE was contracted to do all community lab services by the provincial government and this included transitioning workers from Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) to DynaLIFE with a previously negotiated contract.
The union says DynaLIFE employees deserve the same compensation as their colleagues who transitioned from APL and this is a point of contention with the company, which it says refuses to move from its position.
Since informal mediation did not lead to resolution, negotiations on an Essential Services Agreement (ESA) will begin next week, in preparation for formal mediation. The union says an ESA needs to be in place in case of a strike to ensure the safety of Albertans.
“What kind of employer would push the employees to job action to maintain wage inequity of critical healthcare workers on the heels of a pandemic and when Albertans are unable to get timely access to laboratory services?” says HSAA president Mike Parker. “How will that attract the scarce laboratory workers we need? How will that ensure Albertans do not have to pay for health care access with their credit card?”
The union says there are more than 200 job vacancies with DynaLIFE and wait times at community lab services are increasing.
“This is about fairness and addressing the staffing shortages in our lab system that prevent Albertans from accessing the care they need,” Parker says. “We will not participate in a race to the bottom on wages to maintain profits for shareholders.”
The union says it wants DynaLIFE to be publicly accountable for letting negotiations get to the point of potential job action. Parkers says the union wants to work with the company at the bargaining table to improve access to lab services in Alberta, and the workers are the most important part of the solution.
Community lab services in Grande Prairie are done at the one DynaLIFE location in the city, while the hospital continues to do the service for urgent care and inpatients.
Written By Tyler Hay MyLethbridgeNow.com