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Litigation in Alberta: Union fight provincial bill

Union leaders and the provincial government are coming to blows over what leaders say is the stripping away of bargaining rights of public sector employees, including nurses. The climate is one that could lead to litigation between Alberta and the unions, which have about 200,000 members provincewide. The Head of the United Nurses of Alberta said the move by the province is the biggest betrayal by the government to alter terms of conditions of the union's contract.

Wage talks are arbitrated, but the bill, the nurses union head said, delays those talks until the end of October. She said the union will fight the bill and possibly take job action. Teachers are of the same ilk. The head of the Alberta Teachers' Association said the move by the province is an affront to teachers. But the province said the move is not about taking money from public sector employees, but about postponing processes.

The issue allegedly affects many unionized workers who took pay freezes at the beginning of their contracts. They have the right, according to their contracts, to have that portion revisited. Besides teachers and nurses, others who may be affected are hospital and social workers, toxicologists, therapists, sheriffs and restaurant inspectors. 

The employment forum is one area where litigation could arise. These situations could become emotionally intense and having the guidance of an Alberta lawyer might be wise whether a union is involved or whether the contentious issue is between one employee and employer. A lawyer may be able to advise a client on how to move forward and whether litigation may be a solution. 

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