EDMONTON - The Alberta labour movement became stronger and more cohesive yesterday, thanks to a decision by the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) to join the Alberta Federation of Labour.
The decision to affiliate to the Federation was made directly and democratically by UNA's 18,500 members, who cast ballots at hospitals, clinics and other health facilities across the province.
Delegates to the nurses' annual convention set the wheels in motion for affiliation last November when they overwhelming supported a resolution to join the AFL and Alberta's seven district labour councils.
But under UNA's constitution, the motion had to be approved by both a majority of the unions' members and a majority of its 163 locals.
The final vote was held throughout the day yesterday - and a clear majority of nurses and UNA locals gave the green light to affiliation.
"Obviously we're extremely pleased by the decision," said AFL Secretary Treasurer, Kerry Barrett after the results of the vote were announced last night at UNA headquarters in Edmonton.
Barrett, who is standing in for AFL President while he is out of province dealing with a family emergency, described the affiliation decision as a "win-win" situation for the nurses and the AFL.
"By joining the Federation, UNA and its members will benefit from the strength and solidarity that comes from being a part of the House of Labour," said Barrett. "And the AFL will benefit from an infusion of new people, new ideas and new energy."
Barrett added that UNA has a reputation for being one of the "most successful and principled unions in the country - so we welcome them into the fold with open arms. We're looking forward to working more closely with them."
With UNA on board, the AFL now represents more than 100,000 unionized working people across the province. UNA will become the Federations' largest single affiliate, joining about 30 other unions from both the public and private sectors.
For more information call:
Kerry Barrett, AFL Secretary Treasurer @ 720-8945 (cell)
Gil McGowan, AFL Communications @ 483-3021 (wk)