UNA Factoid #7: Are strikes by nurses legal?

In 1983, the Alberta Legislature passed a law making it illegal for hospital employees, including nurses, to strike. If a dispute couldn’t be settled in bargaining, this law made it compulsory for the parties to resolve their differences through binding arbitration – a process that gives an edge to employers.

In response, UNA adopted a policy against this restriction on the collective bargaining rights of its members. “UNA is opposed to any compulsory arbitration legislation,” the policy states. “Regardless of any legislation, UNA members alone and not the government or any other body shall decide when this union will strike and when it will not.”

UNA believes any collective agreement it signs must be voluntarily accepted by members in a democratic vote, not imposed by arbitration, or any law or ruling.

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