August 2013: Labour Day Celebrations; UNIFOR founding convention to re-invigorate labour activism; Alberta’s minimum wage increased, still worst in Canada; Investigations find employers...

Urgent Action

Join us for Labour Day Celebrations

District Labour Councils all over the province will be hosting Labour Day Barbecues for the unemployed and underemployed. These volunteer-run events help the labour community connect with our local communities.

Medicine Hat and District Labour Council BBQ
Monday, September 2, 2013, 11:30 am to 2:00 pm
Riverside Park, 1st Street and 6th Avenue NE, Medicine Hat, AB

Edmonton and District Labour Council BBQ
Saturday, August 31, 2013, 11:30 am to 3:30 pm
Giovanni Cabato Park, 95 Street and 109 Ave, Edmonton, AB

Calgary and District Labour Council BBQ
Monday, September 2, 2013, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Calgary Olympic Plaza, 228 – 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB

Lethbridge and District Labour Council event
Monday, September 2, 2013, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Research Station Park , 5403 – 1 Avenue S, Lethbridge, AB

Wood Buffalo and District Labour Council event
Monday, September 2, 2013, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Howard Pew Park, Tolen Drive, Fort McMurray, AB


UNIFOR founding convention to re-invigorate labour activism

This Labour Day weekend, thousands of elected CAW and CEP delegates, along with staff and special guests will descend on Toronto to take part in the founding convention of Unifor, Canada's newest union.

Unifor represents the largest coming together of two labour organizations in Canadian history. With more than 300,000 members in workplaces across the country, Unifor will be a force championing the rights of all working people.

Can't attend in person? You can watch history unfold online!

Unifor's founding convention will be live streamed at

Alberta’s minimum wage increased, still worst in Canada

As of September 1, the minimum wage will be increased from $9.75 to $9.95, but Alberta’s lowest-income earners will still be the worst-paid in Canada.

The minimum wage for liquor servers will remain the same at $9.05. Alberta’s minimum wage increases automatically each year under a formula that links the minimum wage to the cost of living.

“A terrible wage that keeps up with inflation will remain a terrible wage,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “How can it be that the richest province is the stingiest? Alberta has a booming economy, a high cost of living, but even with this increase, we have the lowest minimum wage in the country?”

If a minimum wage worker puts in 35 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, they’ll earn $18,109 a year before taxes. That’s significantly less than the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO), the official poverty line that Statistics Canada defines as $23,298. A rate of $14.05 without benefits, or $12.08 with benefits, would be required for someone working full-time at minimum wage to get beyond that poverty line.

Download the AFL press release on Alberta’s Minimum Wage:

Download the AFL backgrounder on Alberta’s Minimum Wage:


Investigations find employers skimming from TFW paycheques

Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) face a greater risk of being the victims of payroll fraud.

Information obtained by the Alberta Federation of Labour shows that employers are likelier to violate the Employment Standards Code when they’re dealing with TFWs. Of investigations launched because of a complaint by a TFW, 47 per cent found the employer had contravened the Code. By comparison, the figure was 33 per cent when the complaint came from a Canadian worker.

“Workers brought in under the Temporary Foreign Worker program are less likely to know their workplace rights, are more likely to have language barriers, and are beholden to their employer for their ability to stay in Canada,” Alberta Federation of Labour Secretary Treasurer Siobhan Vipond said. “It seems clear that some predatory employers know these workers are vulnerable, and they’re exploiting that vulnerability. It’s disgraceful.”

The figures, which were collected from April 2012 – March 2013, were the result of investigations that were started because of a worker complaint. The province investigated only 218 complaints despite there being 68,319 TFWs in Alberta at that time.

Read the whole story at:

Did you know…

  • Of the 30,000 Albertans working for minimum wage, 35.9 per cent were aged 30 or older.
  •  More than 37 per cent of minimum wage earners have been at the same minimum wage job for more than a year, while 13.9 per cent had been at the same job for more than five years.
  • More than 300,000 working Albertans, or 13.5 per cent of the total employed population in the province, lost 7.5 million hours of work because of the flooding in June.
  • In the last 12 months, 243 employers in Alberta have been given the green light to bring in Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) while paying them minimum wage.


August 31: EDLC Labour Day BBQ

September 1: Calgary Pride Parade

September 2: CDLC Labour Day BBQ

October 30 – November 1: Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Convention

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