Calgary

Hundreds of public sector workers protest Bill 9 outside Calgary hospital

Hundreds of public sector workers are outside Foothills hospital over the noon hour Wednesday protesting the UCP government's Bill 9.

Legislation delays wage arbitration for 180,000 teachers, nurses and other public sector workers

AUPE president Guy Smith says Bill 9 is an attack on workers' rights. (CBC)

Hundreds of public sector workers were outside Foothills hospital over the noon hour Wednesday protesting the UCP government's Bill 9.

The legislation delays wage arbitration for 180,000 teachers, nurses and other public sector workers until the end of October.

The government wants to hold off on wage arbitration talks until it receives advice on Alberta's finances from a panel chaired by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon.

Public sectors worked staged an information picket outside Foothills hospital in Calgary on Wednesday to protest Bill 9, the Public Sector Arbitration Deferral Act. (CBC)

Union leaders say the bill is a precursor to legislated wage rollbacks this fall.

Guy Smith, head of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), says it's an attack on workers' rights.

"We're here because front-line workers … are furious with the Alberta government for basically introducing and passing legislation which takes away their legally binding rights to discuss and have arbitrated potential wage increases for the third year of their contract," he said.

"This is something that was negotiated in good faith; and with the power of the state, the government has taken that right away."

The union is asking a judge for an injunction against the bill as it proceeds with court action against the legislation on constitutional grounds.

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