Position Statements

The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) is a trade union affiliated with the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and its subordinate bodies – the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) and the various District Labour Councils across Alberta. We hold to be true a set of values based in social democracy, social and environmental justice. These values guide us in taking positions on issues that arise on an ongoing basis.

Our position statements flow from our values, mission statement and strategic plan, that are the basic rationale for each.

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It is our belief that political leave language be included in bargaining demands to ensure our members who are elected to public office be allowed a leave of absence without pay but with no loss in seniority. Members should also have the ability to pay their full share of the benefits plan under the collective agreement during their term(s) of office.

Rationale:

HSAA understands the value full democratic participation plays in Canadian society

HSAA will continue to lobby parties in Alberta Legislature with the goal to obtain political leave legislation for all Albertans.

Approved at AGM 2005
Amended May 2018 Convention

Proposed rewrite – Pending

HSAA is opposed to child labour in Alberta, Canada and the rest of the world.

HSAA will continue to advocate for changes to the Alberta Labour Relations Code to prevent child labour and better protection for youth in the workplace.

Approved at 2006 AGM
Amended May 2018 Convention

HSAA believes that the Alberta Labour Relations Code must mandate arbitration as the dispute mechanism used when impasse is reached between the union and the employer in bargaining first contracts.

Rationale:

After a successful union drive, workers in a bargaining unit have the right to have a collective agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their employment.

Without first contract arbitration legislation, employers have been known to draw out the bargaining process in an attempt to reach an open period without a negotiated contract having been ratified, thereby giving them a better argument to make a decertification argument to the bargaining unit workers.

HSAA recognizes the provisions for first-contract arbitration that were legislated by the Alberta Government in An Act to Implement a Supreme Court Ruling Governing Essential Services in 2016 and demands that this remains the rule of law in Alberta.

Approved at May 2018 Convention

HSAA supports and encourages the development of policies and procedures which will identify environments which may be detrimental to the auditory health of members. Provide audiometric testing, at the expense of the employer, for members exposed to noise levels which may approach but not exceed legislated limits.

As a healthcare union, whose members work for healthcare employers, HSAA should have a special interest in emerging health hazards, and the Alberta OH&S Code recognizes that excess noise levels, as defined in section 218 a) & b), can cause loss of auditory function, and there may be health problems we are not aware of and which are not reflected in current standards. We must also ensure that proper hearing protection is provided by the employer to all employees.

Approved at AGM 2006
Reviewed Jan 2018
Reviewed May 2018 Convention

HSAA supports the introduction of a national and/or provincial pharmacare program to ensure all Canadians and Albertans can access necessary medications without the worry of financial burden.

Rationale:

About one third of working Canadians don’t have employer-funded prescription drug coverage and even those with drug plans are paying ever-increasing co-payments and deductibles.

Canada needs to combine the purchasing power of all Canadians under one plan. An annual investment of billion $1 by the federal government will mean Canadians save $7.3 billion a year on the medications they need.

An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe our public health care system should include a universal prescription drug plan.

A report released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates savings of $4.2 billion a year for the federal government alone.

Amended May 2018 Convention

HSAA will:

  • Promote within the union and to individual members materials including those prepared by the National Union and affiliates on the subject of climate change.
  • Support the establishment of “Green Committees” within HSAA workplaces and encourage these Committees to join with other labour, environmental, faith and social justice groups to study and promote measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change in a manner that is fair to workers and their communities.
  • Encourage members to undertake consumer actions which will reduce energy consumption and increase recycling and reuse options.
  • Support reinvestment in local communities by supporting economic diversification as well as green infrastructure, energy efficiency, renewable energy, bioenergy and innovation.
  • Continue to examine our own practices and explore opportunities to reduce the union’s environmental footprint.

Reviewed May 2018 Convention

HSAA will adopt sustainable, environmental and ethical purchasing policies for its own operations and advocate for others to follow our lead.

Rationale:

The goals of sustainable, environmental and ethical purchasing policies are to ensure that garments purchased are made under humane working conditions in compliance with accepted international standards and also to ensure that any food, agricultural products and commodity purchases would be fair trade whenever possible.

Approved at 2008 AGM
Amended May 2018 Convention

HSAA will advocate for workplaces where our members and other workers are safe to go to and from work without the fear of domestic violence.

We will advocate for workplaces that are free from intrusion of an abusive domestic partner.

Our members have the right to work  unhampered by the threat of domestic violence towards themselves or their co-workers

Rationale:

One in three workers has experienced domestic violence, and for many the violence follows them to work.

Domestic violence costs Canadian employers millions of dollars per year plus; the costs to workers, their families and society at large.

Women who are victims of domestic violence are more likely to have trouble obtaining and maintaining quality permanent work, to change jobs frequently, and to earn less money; this lack of security leaves them without the resources to leave their abusers and reinforces the cycle of abuse.

Domestic abusers also suffer at work, often having trouble focusing, and occasionally causing violent incidences at their own workplaces; abusers’ behavior commonly leads to lost work time, reduced workplace productivity, and poses a risk to co-workers.

Approved at 2008 AGM
Amended May 2018 Convention

HSAA will pressure the federal government for legislation that will protect net neutrality for all Canadians.

Rationale:

Corporations or government should not have the ability to interfere or interrupt transmission of any content regardless of subject, ownership or destination which is not deemed illegal by law enforcement.

Citizens of the world need non-discriminatory access to the Internet to ensure they are able to fully participate in the global economy and in the democratic institutions of this country and not be able to block content during political unrest as seen during the Arab Spring or Ukrainian Uprising.

TELUS has already violated net neutrality when it blocked the website Voices for Change, which was created by the members of the Telecommunications Workers Union who were fighting for better pay and working conditions for the Telus Employees in 2005.

Amended 2014 AGM
Amended May 2018 Convention