Alberta Health Services workers are now able to take off the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation stat holiday on September 30 and get paid for it. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees filed a policy grievance after AHS refused to recognize the day. An arbitrator worked on the grievance and now union members in nursing care and general support services will be able to access the stat. AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Human Rights Committee, Bobby-Joe Borodey, says this is a huge victory.
“Not to mention that the day that we were looking to have honoured has a significant meaning and is very important not only to our members, but to all of Albertans. The fact that AHS refused to honour it was shameful in our minds. We tried to have a conversation with them about pointing out the fact that it’s in the contract, it’s black and white, and there’s no grey area here. But they still decided to fight the matter. As such, we were obligated to move forward in the fashion that we did with the policy grievance and the arbitrator ruled in our favour.”
Borodey points out that establishing a stat holiday to honour residential school survivors and their families was one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.