EDMONTON - In an effort to show support for striking workers at the Shaw Conference Centre, the Alberta Federation of Labour is urging unions and union members to boycott the facility.
In a letter to more than 200 locals, provincial and national presidents, AFL president Les Steel asked unions to cancel events at the conference centre and encourage members to stop attending things like concerts and trade shows held there.
"Appeals to fairness and decency haven't worked," said Steel. "So maybe they'll start to pay attention when we hit them in their pocketbooks."
Steel admits that unions are not the biggest users of the conference centre - but they still represent a significant amount of business, especially when you include all the union members who individually attend functions held at the centre.
In response to the AFL's call for a boycott, the Alberta Teachers Association and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters have already agreed to take their business elsewhere. The ATA will also be encouraging local school principals to move events such as graduations out of the conference centre.
Workers at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown Edmonton have been on strike for more than two weeks in an effort to win a first collective agreement.
Steel points out that the workers aren't asking for the moon. They're satisfied with their current wage level, so money isn't an issue. What they're really looking for is protection from unfair treatment. In particular, they want the conference centre to stop its practice of classifying people as part-timers even when they work full-time hours. And they want something done about racism, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
"This is clearly a group of workers that needs a union and the protection that a collective agreement can bring," says Steel. "A boycott of the facility is the least we can do to help them win a fair deal."
For more information call:
Les Steel, AFL President @ (780) 483-3021 or (780) 499-4135 (cell)