For MHC Employees

Collective Bargaining at MHC

Updated Jan. 5, 2023

Many of MHC’s employees are represented by one of two unions – the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) or the Medicine Hat College Faculty Association (MHCFA). These groups represent many of the individuals who teach, support students, and meet other operational needs of the college.

Collective bargaining is the process by which the terms and conditions of employment for these employees are determined. During negotiations, the college will develop and negotiate collective agreements with the AUPE and MHCFA.

To support the collective bargaining, Medicine Hat College is committed to transparency and will share updates throughout the process. Please scroll down to see our FAQ section.

About the Process

A typical collective bargaining process includes the following:

  • A notice to commence collective bargaining initiates collective bargaining and can be issued by the institution or the union.
  • Negotiations start with the exchange of opening proposals from both the institution and the union. This may include proposed additions, changes, or deletions relating to the current collective agreement.
  • Bargaining teams representing the institution and the union meet for a scheduled series of negotiations. Each party is required to bargain in good faith and make every reasonable effort to enter into a renewal collective agreement. At any time during collective bargaining, either or both parties may request assistance from a mediator. If an agreement cannot be achieved through negotiations and an impasse is reached, there are a number of methods for resolving disputes in collective bargaining.
  • When the bargaining teams have reached a settlement on a tentative renewal collective agreement, the agreement must then be ratified.

There are two unions for faculty and support staff: MHC Faculty Association and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

  • AUPE Collective Agreement
  • MHCFA Collective Agreement

Managerial employees and certain other employees are exempt from union representation and hired pursuant to individual contracts of employment and their employment is subject to certain statutes (Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions Compensation Act (RABCCA) and Employment Standards Code (ESC).

  • RABCCA provides a framework to cap total compensation among certain roles.
  • ESC establishes minimum standards of employment.
Collective bargaining is a process of determining the terms and conditions of employment through direct negotiations between a union and an employer.

When one or both bargaining parties decide no further progress is possible through negotiation discussions, an impasse is reached. There are a number of methods for resolving disputes in collective bargaining.

Ultimately, an impasse can lead to a work stoppage, following several mandated steps as set out in the Alberta Labour Relations Code, the legislation that governs collective bargaining and strikes/lockout processes.

A strike includes a cessation of work, refusal to work or refusal to continue to work by two or more employees for the purpose of compelling the employer to agree to terms or conditions of employment

In advance of a strike, a vote of employees in the bargaining unit must take place and the majority of votes must be in favour of the strike. Employees are unpaid for the duration of the strike.

See: Alberta Labour Relations Board Strike and Lockout FAQ

When the bargaining parties are unable to negotiate a collective agreement, the employer may choose to lockout the employees.

A lockout includes the closing of a place of employment by an employer, the suspension of work by an employer or a refusal by an employer to continue to employ employees for the purpose of compelling employees to agree to terms of conditions of employment. Employees are unpaid for the duration of any lockout.

See: Alberta Labour Relations Board Strike and Lockout FAQ

Provincial legislation describes essential services as those that if interrupted would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the public, or that are necessary to maintain and administer the rule of law and public security. The parties to an essential services agreement may also agree to a broader definition or to particular positions deemed essential.

The labour relations and collective bargaining of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions fall under the Labour Relations Code, the Public Service Employee Relations Act and the Post-secondary Learning Act.

The Provincial Bargaining Coordination Office is the central agency that coordinates collective bargaining with the broader public sector employers.

The Alberta Labour Relations Board is an independent tribunal responsible for administering the Labour Relations Code and applying the legislation governing collective bargaining.


Quick Links

Collective Agreements:

AUPE (pdf)

Faculty Association (pdf)