CUPE Negotiator finds strength to bargain for members despite family tragedy

CUPE LogoEDMONTON – For most parents, having a 35-year-old daughter with a terminal illness would make their job the last thing on their mind; however, CUPE Local 30 Business Agent Al Halaby found negotiating a collective agreement allowed him to focus on the future.

With his daughter Adele hospitalized after complications from surgery, Halably’s wife quit her job to provide 24/7 care for their daughter. Although Halaby did not have this same option, CUPE Local 30 accommodated his hours of work so that he could negotiate the collective agreement with the City of Fort Saskatchewan from his daughter’s hospital bed.

“It was an important round of bargaining for over 200 CUPE members,” said Halaby. “So I continued to negotiate work while spending precious time with Adele. Together, we discussed every part of the negotiation process.”

“The night we discussed our aggressive wage proposal she said ‘just go for it Daddy, there is only one way to find out’,” said Halaby.

Halaby negotiated a collective agreement with a wage increase of 10.5 per cent over three years, as well as increases for overtime work, better shift premium, and benefit improvements, which was unanimously approved by the membership.

“It may seem unusual to some that I kept working, but Adele wouldn’t have it any other way,” Halaby said. “As far as I’m concerned, the collective agreement between CUPE and Fort Saskatchewan is ‘Adele’s contract.’” “Her amazing strength kept me focused on improving the future for these CUPE members,” said Halaby.

The contract was signed on Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Fort Saskatchewan.

-30-