EDMONTON-If you want to know what rank-and-file oil industry workers really think of about energy royalties, don't go to the so-called "Grassroots Oil Workers Rally" at the Legislature tomorrow – go to the rally being held Thursday night in the heart of Alberta's oil sands country.
"Despite it's billing, tomorrow's rally isn't really a grassroots oil workers rally – it's a rally for the bosses and managers of small to medium-sized energy companies," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"These are people who have bought into the scare tactics currently being used by Big Oil. Obviously, they have a right to speak for themselves. But let's be clear: they don't speak for anything close to a majority of Albertans working in the oil patch or related industries."
In an effort to give the thousands of people working in Fort McMurray a platform of their own, the AFL – along with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communication, Energy Paperworkers union – will be hosting a rally and information forum at the Timberline Ballroom in the Sawridge Hotel, starting at 9 p.m.
What: The Real Oil Workers Rally and Forum
Where: The Timberline Room, Sawridge Hotel, 530 MacKenzie Boulevard, Fort McMurray
When: 9-10:30 p.m., Thursday, October 18
Speakers at the union-sponsored event will include McGowan, IBEW's Barry Salmon and others. There will also be an open mike for people to speak from the floor.
"It's always scary when the people who sign your paycheques start talking about job loss," says McGowan. "But it's clear that a strong majority of workers in this province – regardless of what industries they happen to be in – want a much better deal on the resources that we all own collectively as citizens. And they're not about to back down just because a few cranky CEOs have been rattling their sabres."
"Right now, Big Oil is behaving like a kid throwing a tantrum," concludes McGowan. "They're stamping their feet and making threats. But they're not about to leave the sandbox – because there's too much money to be made and, frankly, because there's nowhere else for them to go."
Gil McGowan, AFL President @ 780.218-9888 (cell)