Police union accuses Edmonton Police Service of intimidation, restricting union rights

The union representing Edmonton police officers has filed a formal complaint with Alberta’s labour relations board in which it accuses the police service of breaching its contract.

Labour Relations Board of Alberta to hear complaint

In a complaint filed Dec. 20, the Edmonton Police Association alleges EPS interfered with the union’s administration and of intimidation. (CBC)

The union representing Edmonton police officers has filed a formal complaint with Alberta's labour relations board in which it accuses the police service of breaching its contract.

In a complaint filed Dec. 20, the Edmonton Police Association (EPA) alleges EPS interfered with the union's administration "by dictating what it can and cannot communicate to its members" and of "intimidating employees who are acting as representatives of the association."

EPA president Sgt. Mike Elliott said the complaints stem from an incident during the union's annual election in early December.

Elliott, who was then running for president, said he wanted to speak to officers at downtown division at an assembly before they went on shift.

But when he told a senior officer he intended to talk about the upcoming election, he was ordered not to speak about that issue.

"I followed his direction because I could be charged for disobeying a senior officer's order," Elliott said.

He said the association's board decided it need to file a formal labour board complaint.

"We want to ensure that our rights are protected and adhered to," he said. "We want to assure that as an association we are not stifled from speaking in the workplace."

Police deny allegations

The Labour Relations Board of Alberta accepted the complaint but noted "the EPS will be responding and denies the allegations."

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Chief Rod Knecht said his relationship with the EPA executive is "extremely positive."

But the statement said "there is an issue relating to the kinds of material that the EPA can present to police officers on work time. Both parties are working through the labour relations process to resolve the issue, and are looking forward to a fair resolution."

The board has yet to determine a date for the hearing.