Here’s How We See It:
How the current salary restraint will affect unionized Nurse Practitioners at Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services (AHS)
In December 2021, the Government of Alberta announced that it would review the salary restraint that is currently in place and which freezes the wages of non-unionized employees of Covenant Health, AHS, and other public agencies.
Recently, the Government of Alberta extended the end date for the salary restraint from March 30, 2022 to June 30, 2022.
A number of Nurse Practitioners have asked us about what effect the lifting of the salary restraint will have on their base salaries.
AUNP’s response is that the salary restraint should no longer affect unionized Nurse Practitioners because it no longer applies to you.
- The salary restraint only applies to “designated executives”, which doesn’t include employees who are represented by a bargaining agent
Two important pieces of legislation -- the Salary Restraint Regulation and the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions Compensation Act -- determine who can receive base salary increases from a public agency while a salary restraint is in place.
These pieces of legislation state that “designated executives” can’t receive base salary increases from a public agency while a salary restraint is in place, and that employees who are represented by a bargaining agent don’t count as “designated executives.”
- You are no longer “designated executives” because AUNP is now your bargaining agent
On December 10, 2021, the Alberta Labour Relations Board recognized AUNP as the certified bargaining agent for “all Nurse Practitioners performing advanced nursing care or nursing instruction” at Covenant Health.
On December 20, 2021, the Alberta Labour Relations Board recognized AUNP as the certified bargaining agent for “all Nurse Practitioners performing advanced nursing care or nursing instruction” at AHS.
Once AUNP became the bargaining agent for Nurse Practitioners at Covenant Health and at AHS, the salary restraint stopped applying to those Nurse Practitioners because they were no longer “designated executives.”
AHS has recognized that the salary restraint does not impact unionized employees whose wages are determined through the collective bargaining process.
- Public agencies can always increase base salaries of their employees for certain reasons, even when a salary restraint is in place
The Salary Restraint Regulation says that, even when the employee is a “designated executive”, and even when a salary restraint is in place, a public agency can still increase the base salary of an employee under certain circumstances, including to promote the employee.
This means that, even during the salary restraint, back when Nurse Practitioners at Covenant Health and at AHS were still considered “designated executives” because they weren’t yet represented by AUNP, those employers could have given their Nurse Practitioners promotions that could have increased their base salaries. Food for thought.
As we noted above, the Government of Alberta currently plans to extend the salary restraint until June 30, 2022, but because Nurse Practitioners at Covenant Health and at AHS are now represented by AUNP as your bargaining agent, you are not “designated executives”, so you are already entitled to receive increases to your base salaries.
AUNP is already working on a collective agreement for Nurse Practitioners at Covenant Health and at AHS, and we will continue to assertively bargain in order to achieve the gains that truly reflect your value.
And that’s the way we see it.