The Alberta Federation of Labour responded to the establishment of a Tory MLA committee to decide if the Labour Relations Code should be revamped by questioning the real motivations of the Minister.
"We think this could be a Trojan horse for the union busters in the province," says AFL President Les Steel. "The people affected by the act - unionized employers and employees - have not been calling for a review any time soon. We think this is coming from people who hate unions on principle."
Human Resources Minister Clint Dunford is saying he wants the changes to the Code to be small, Steel indicates that he does not trust that to happen. "Despite his intentions, we don't trust that he can keep the issue under control. His track record in delivering on his promises lately has been poor," says Steel, referring to recent political defeats for the Minister, including the WCB Longstanding Claims Tribunal and raising welfare rates.
The AFL is suspicious of the process involved in the new MLA committee, to be chaired by Tory MLA Richard Marz. "Why is it not an all-party committee? That decision alone makes it feel like the deck is stacked."
Steel also points out that the summer is the hardest time for unions to participate in such a review. "Why is it happening in the summer? Could it be they want to discourage union participation?"
Steel indicates that Alberta's labour laws are already among the most employer-leaning in the country. "It is very difficult to organize workers in this province, the laws are so stacked against workers. What more do employers want? A ban on unions?"
The AFL will mobilize its affiliates to respond to this review to make sure labour's voice is heard. "Despite being the summer, we will get our members moving on this issue. We have to. Too much is at stake."
"Last time they reviewed the Labour Code, it became the worst in the country. Working people need to fight to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again." Steel concluded.
For more Information, contact:
Les Steel, President @ (780)483-3021(work) or (780)499-4135(cell)