A four-year tentative agreement has been reached between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and several locals of the Alberta Union of Public Employees General Support Services (AUPE GSS).

AUPE officials say the tentative agreement came after AHS offered monetary improvements and improved job security during mediation on June 28 and 29.

If accepted, those in these locals would receive a no increase for both 2020 and 2021, 1.25 per cent increase effective September 2022, and a two per cent increase effective Apr. 1, 2023.

Additional lump sum payments offered are based on workers' type and time window of employment.

Important to the AUPE GSS negotiating team was AHS's commitment to stop contracting out jobs until March 30, 2024.

"Job security was one of the most important issues for us in bargaining," they state. "For the retail food members whose work is already in the final stages of contracting-out, AHS will provide a voluntary severance option to the most senior staff before they lay off any lower seniority members."

It's a mail-in vote and two townhalls are scheduled to answer questions of members of Local 054, 056, 057, 058, 095 and Lamont Health Care Centre GSS

"The last few years of bargaining, combined with the pandemic, have been difficult for all of us," the AUPE GSS negotiating team states in its update on negotiations. "When AHS first tabled its insulting proposals, we told you we would never accept concessions or rollbacks. We held true to our word. We are always stronger when we stand together.

Alberta Finance minister Jason Nixon says the mediator’s recommendation comes after months of dedicated negotiations. He thanked both parties for their efforts.

“I commend the ongoing contributions of the hardworking members of General Support Services," says Nixon in a written statement. “If ratified, this deal will help provide long-term stability in Alberta’s healthcare system.”