Guy Smith, Age: 52
Hometown: Birmingham, England
Influential because: He got his members a great deal
The Alberta government went to war with the largest public-sector union in the province. And lost. Guy Smith had a lot to do with that. Smith says it was the most challenging round of negotiations the union has ever been involved in, coming, as it did, on the heels of Bill 46. That bill, introduced by the provincial government in December 2012, would have forced AUPE to accept a four-year contract with a wage freeze in the first two years, and a one per cent pay increase in each of the following two. The act also stripped AUPE of the right to binding arbitration, which it had been granted in 1977 in return for its loss of the right to strike. The AUPE challenged the legislation in court, and the government was found to have bargained in bad faith. That ruling – and Smith’s dogged negotiations – have led to four years of labour peace for AUPE’s 80,000 members.
Smith’s win is a four-year contract for members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees that will see them receive a lump-sum payment of $1,850 in the first year and pay increases of 2.0 per cent, 2.25 per cent and 2.5 per cent in each of the subsequent years.