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Labour board rules wildcat strikes were illegal, cease and desist order issued

Last Updated Oct 27, 2020 at 6:26 am MST

AUPE workers set up picket lines outside the Foothills Hospital in Calgary on Oct. 26, 2020.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — The Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) has ruled that healthcare workers did engage in an illegal strike when they walked off the job Monday.

Frontline workers with The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) took to the streets to protest cuts by the United Conservative government.

In an emergency meeting that went late Monday night, the ALRB declared employees “engaged in an illegal strike” and all employees are “ordered to cease and desist from engaging in any further strike activity.”

The board has directed employees to return to work according to their scheduled shifts.

The orders will be filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench and be enforced by court order.

WATCH: UCP calling wildcat strike ‘irresponsible’

“I’m pleased with the Alberta Labour Relations Board ruling and expect the leadership of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees to ensure that all employees return to work immediately,” Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, said in a statement.

“We fully expect all employees to respect the board’s ruling and return to work.

“Going forward we expect that all unions respect the bargaining process and stop putting Albertans’ safety at risk. We will not tolerate illegal strike activity.”

Alberta Health Services enacted contingency plans to redeploy non-union staff, including managers, wherever possible to cover for missing staff.

Union president Guy Smith said in a release nursing-care and support workers decided that there was no other option but to fight to protect Albertans at risk, especially during the deadliest pandemic in a century.

“Anger has been building among members for months,” said Smith.

“The recent announcement by Health Minister Tyler Shandro of 11,000 jobs being cut in the middle of a global deadly pandemic was the last straw for them.”

Some of the hospitals affected by the strikes included Foothills Hospital in Calgary and the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Edmonton.