Delegates from The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees elected a new Vice President Friday night during their 40th annual Convention.
Bonnie Gostola is a health care aide who works at the High River General Hospital. She’s been actively engaged in union activities for 30 years, starting her career with the Canadian Health Care Guild in the late 80’s which was folded into the AUPE in 1999. She’s a Union Steward who sits on her bargaining team with Alberta Health Services.
Gostola will join the executive where she wants to make sure her members are fully educated when it comes to Bill 4 and the Essential Services language.
“I think it’s going to hit our members very hard when they don’t understand how that language will affect them directly and indirectly. With 75,000 members going into bargaining next year I think we’re in a bad place in terms of just having those members know where they stand.”
Gostola wants her members to know that job action is a measure of last resort.
“Sometimes it’s like, ‘let’s walk out, let’s walk out,’ and it’s not about walking out, it’s about actually trying to get a bargain at the table where we should be bargaining. We should never be trying to bargain off the street. We never want to push an employer beyond, to that stage, and I never want to actually ask my memberships to say ‘hey, you’ve got to give this up and walk the streets so we can get a good deal’.”
Eight candidates were in the running, but Gostola won some 300 of the 888 votes.
The one year role will come up for election with all executive positions next year.