Celebrations are underway across the province to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Alberta Federation of Labour, and Calgary trade unionists have plans to mark the Centennial by drawing attention to their city's rich and dynamic labour history.
A 2012 group of trade union and community activists attached to the Calgary & District Labour Council are launching a "Calgary Labour Walk," a project designed to provide a different perspective on the city's history by focusing on places where events of significance to working people took place.
Group leader Susan Keeley says, "While the recent elections may reinforce the idea that the Calgary area has a conservative mindset, history tells us this has long been the centre of a fight for workers' rights. It's important that Calgarian don't forget their history and how working people built the success this city now enjoys. That's why we organized this labour walk."
The group's research has uncovered fascinating stories about the achievements, losses and victories of the workers who built and maintained our city at the same time as they struggled to build a decent life for themselves and their families.
From the stonemasons who cut sandstone in the 17th Avenue Quarry for some of Calgary's grandest buildings to the municipal workers who ran the city, but also spearheaded the formation of Canada's largest union; from the skilled tradespeople who serviced locomotives in the CPR's Ogden Shops to the hospital workers who repeatedly took the government to task with demands for quality healthcare, the workers' history provides a decidedly different view of the way the City was built and maintained.
A number of the identified sites have been incorporated into a large fold-out map of Calgary with images, locations and descriptions, and thousands of copies printed. It will all be launched at 2:00 p.m. on May 5, 2012 at the CUPE 37 Hall at 5112 3 Street SE, Calgary, where transit buses have been engaged and tour guides trained to take people on a tour of the Labour Walk.
Participants are invited to come back to the CUPE Hall for an evening of food, refreshments and a labour history concert, Troublemakers: Working Albertans, 1900-1950, presented by Maria Dunn as part of a province-wide tour to celebrate the AFL Centennial through song.
For more information contact:
Susan Keeley, Retired CUPE Representative 403-248-2472 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Lepora, CEP, VP, Calgary Labour Council 403-278-5216 email@example.com
Winston Gereluk, 2012 Centennial Coordinator, 780-483-3012 firstname.lastname@example.org