Labour leaders confront anti-democratic legislation
with advertising and legal challenges
Edmonton – Workers in Alberta need to stand up to Alison Redford’s bullying tactics says the province’s largest labour advocacy group.
At a press conference just hours after Bills 45 and 46 were passed, leaders of several unions expressed outrage that the anti-democratic legislation had been rammed through the legislature without any real consultation or analysis.
“Alison Redford has poisoned labour relations in Alberta’s public sector, perhaps for years,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said at the press conference. “If she thinks that threats, bullying and intimidation will stop workers from standing up for themselves and up against her senseless agenda of cuts and rollbacks in the midst of prosperity, she has another thing coming.”
The right to freedom of speech and the right to freedom of assembly are protected under Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly ruled that Section 2(d) of the Charter inherently includes the right to bargain collectively.
Bill 45 strips some workers of their right to speak freely about labour action. Bill 46 strips some workers of their right to bargain collectively. The Federation, its affiliated unions and allied unions have made no secret of their plans to launch a legal challenge to the legislation.
“It’s clear that we will be going to court and it’s clear that the Redford government will lose,” McGowan said. “The Supreme Court of Canada has been very clear in its recent rulings in labour law: Workers have the right to associate in unions; That right is meaningless without the right to collective bargaining; And governments that use legislation to impose contracts make a mockery of collective bargaining.”
The Federation of Labour also unveiled television advertisements that accuse the premier of abandoning the coalition that helped get her elected in 2012. The advertisements call out Premier Alison Redford for bullying opponents, and encourage Albertans to remember these bills during the next election.
“Alison Redford is not a progressive, she’s a fraud. Despite her history as a human rights lawyer, she is also no defender of rights in a democracy,” McGowan said. “Real democratic leaders understand that they have to respect others and work with others. Bullies use their power to impose their will. Alison Redford is a bully.”-30-
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org