A century of fighting for workers' rights is explored in a display that opened this week at Bonnyville & District Museum (click here for a sample display).
"The labour movement has been a vital player in shaping the province of Alberta and this display will show some of the important work done by unions," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which celebrates its centennial this year.
"The AFL was created in 1912 by workers and farmers who saw the need for an organization that would protect their common interests and make their communities stronger. It's important, 100 years later, to remember the role unions played in building this province – and that Alberta was at the forefront of the national struggle for workers' rights," he says.
"That struggle continues as we see moves to drive down wages under the federal government's Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, to restrict Employment Insurance (EI) payments to laid-off workers and to keep people in the workplace until the age of 67 under proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) rules."
The display at the Bonnyville & District Museum at 4401 - 54th Avenue, Bonnyville, opened this week and runs until the end of August. It includes a display of 12 separate panels, each focusing on a separate theme in Alberta labour history.
It is one of a number of displays being staged around the province in conjunction with the centennial of the AFL, which today represents 145,000 workers. The site of other displays include the Royal Alberta Museum, Ft. McMurray Library, Hinton Municipal Library, the Provincial Archives, the Aviation Hall of Fame (Wetaskiwin), the Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum, the Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre, the Red Deer Museum & Archives, the Olds Library, the Glenbow Institute, the Crowsnest Museum, the Galt Museum, the Medicine Hat Esplanade and the Medalta Museum in Medicine Hat (Clayworks Society).
The museum and library displays are part of a year-long, province-wide celebration of the AFL centennial. Juno-nominated folksinger Maria Dunn is part way through an extensive concert tour of the province, singing songs about labour and Alberta.
The highlight of the celebrations will be a Celebration in the Park on June 16, when thousands are expected to attend Fort Edmonton Park for a full day of events for adults and children.
• Gil McGowan, AFL president, 780-218-9888.
• Kirsti Tamblyn, Ground Zero Productions at 780-420-1400 email@example.com