At a series of three coordinated rallies in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary Thursday evening, the Alberta Federation of Labour and the B.C. Federation of Labour unveiled the first phase of a joint, multi-union campaign aimed at putting pressure on Telus to reach a fair settlement with its locked-out workers.
"Telus may think they're taking on one union representing 13,000 workers. But they've miscalculated," said AFL president Gil McGowan at the Edmonton rally.
"Starting today, they're going to up against the full weight of the entire labour movement in two provinces. Together, we represent hundreds of thousands of members - and that means hundreds of thousands of Telus customers or potential customers."
About 1,000 people from dozens of different unions attended the rallies outside the downtown Telus towers in Edmonton and Calgary.
McGowan says the labour movement is NOT asking people to boycott Telus services - yet. Instead, union members are being asked to discontinue some of their land-line and cell phone features - like call display and voice mail. The AFL and BCFL are also asking their members to report service complaints with Telus to the federal telecommunications regulator, the CRTC.
"We want to turn up the heat on Telus. We want to send the message that customers are not happy. And we make it clear to Telus managers that there may be a serious economic price to be paid if they don't sit down and negotiate a fair contract."
McGowan says that the dispute is really about defending "family sustaining and community sustaining jobs," which he says are threatened by Telus' plans to send work overseas and rely on more contract and temporary workers at home.
"Telus makes its money here, in our towns, in our cities, from our citizens," McGowan told the rally in Edmonton. "As a result, it has an obligation to give something back by investing here and maintaining good jobs here.
"But (Telus CEO Darren) Entwhistle's contract - the one he's tried to ram down your throats - would allow him to contract out jobs, to strip benefits, to send work down to the southern United States or to the Philippines. Tonight we're here to say "no" to this kind of corporate irresponsibility. We're here to say "no way" to the Entwistle way."
The Alberta Federation of Labour represents about 120,000 workers in Alberta from 29 different unions - including unions like the United Nurses of Alberta, the Communications, Energy, Paperworkers union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Many other unions not directly affiliated with the AFL have also pledged to support the campaign in support of locked-out Telus workers.
The B.C. Federation of Labour represents 470,000 workers from dozens of different unions in both the public and private sectors
For more information about the campaign to support locked-out Telus workers, visit the AFL website at www.afl.org.
EDMONTON-The reputation for good labour relations and excellent service earned over many years by Alberta Government Telephones, EdTel and BCTel have been poured down the drain of corporate mismanagement by Telus in a few short years, says the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, Alberta's largest labour organization.
"Telus has forgotten how to treat people. They are engaged in 'take it or leave it' negotiating - and that is bullying, not bargaining," says Gil McGowan.
"It is the arrogant unwillingness of Telus management to listen to anyone else's point of view that has alienated their onetime loyal workers and customers. You have to ask yourself why Telus is acting so irresponsibly. In the long run, negotiating fairly with your employees and treating them with respect pays dividends in terms of productivity and customer satisfaction - Telus' tactics are producing exactly the opposite."
McGowan says that the affiliated unions and members of the AFL will be supporting the Telus strikers throughout the dispute.
"We will be providing picket line and other support as requested by the Telecommunication Workers Union (TWU). "For now the TWU is asking our members to consider dropping some, but not all of their Telus services, and to cancel automatic payment provisions," says McGowan.
McGowan warns Telus that such actions must not be treated lightly.
"If we move to a full boycott of Telus goods and services, experience has shown us that many of those customers will never come back to Telus. The company needs to show some common sense at the bargaining table before irreparable damage is done," says McGowan.
Kerry Barrett, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, February 2005
Good afternoon. My name is Kerry Barrett and I'm here to bring greetings on behalf of the Alberta Federation of Labour's Executive Council.
The Federation represents about 120,000 members from many different unions in this province.
At one time or another, we've all suffered the frustration and anger that comes from dealing with a stubborn employer.
So, we understand what you're going through right now - and we want to assure you that both as unions and as individuals, we are prepared to anything and everything we can to help you get a fair collective agreement.
The struggle that you're having with Telus is one that is going on in many sectors of the economy.
On one side, we have a company that is worth billions - and is the dominant player in its industry in western Canada. On the other had, we have you, the workers, who have made the company strong.
The mangers of Telus have made big mistakes, they've made bad investments and they've consistently focused on short-term self-interest over the real long-term best interests of the company.
But who gets the blame for managements' failures? And who has to pay the price, in terms of lay-offs, pay cuts, reduced benefits? It's not the guys on top, it's not people like Darren Entwhistle.
Instead, it's people like you, the people who actually do the work.
That's what this dispute is really about. And it's the same kind of dispute we in the labour movement are dealing with in so many sectors.
The good news is that you've been taking action. You've stood up for a fair and equitable deal for all Telus employees & and you've won a few rounds at the CIRB.
Obviously, the company's latest tactics are frustrating. If they put half as much effort into negotiating as they put into fighting there our employees, a deal would have been reached long ago.
But that's the way too many managers approach labour relations these days. They dig their heels in, they try to divide people they try to starve us out. It's all part of the play book.
But you know? Even in this hostile climate, unions like yours can win. Other unions and other workers have faced down tactics like this and still emerged with good agreements. I am confident that you will do the same.
In conclusion I'd just like to say two things. First, our federation's convention is coming up here in Edmonton in May.
I'm looking forward to seeing many of you there and celebrating what I'm confident will eventually be a victory for you and TWU.
Second, and more importantly, I want to make sure you know that - whatever happens - they rest of the labour movement is behind you.
The locations and the employers' names may be different, but we're all in the same boat, facing the same challenges. Whatever we can do to help, we'll be there for you.
Good luck with your fight. And thank you for this opportunity to talk to you today. Solidarity!
EDMONTON - The Alberta Federation of Labour is formally lifting a union-led viewer boycott of A-Channel as workers at the station head back to their jobs today after a grueling five month strike.
"We are tremendously happy with the support that Edmontonians showed for the strikers during this long and often bitter dispute," says AFL president Les Steel.
"But now that a fair agreement has been reached, we want to send the message that the best way to continue supporting the workers is to tune into A-Channel and watch the programs they produce."
A-Channel workers in Edmonton walked off the job on September 17, 2003 after negotiations towards a first contract broke down. After months of tension between the workers and Craig Media, A-Channel's parent company, an agreement was finally reached in mid February.
"It took a long time, but the workers eventually got almost everything they were looking for, including reasonable raises and a pay grid that recognizes experience," says Steel.
"But the real key to winning this strike was the support the workers received from rank-and-file union members and members of the broader community. We asked Edmontonians to stop watching A-Channel during the strike - and viewership for the station dropped by half. We're convinced that this was what really paved the way for a settlement."
In addition to the union-led viewer boycott, Steel says the labour movement demonstrated solidarity with the striking workers by raising about $40,000 for the strikers and their families during the Christmas season and another $15,000 at a special fund-raiser last Friday night.
The money raised at last week's fundraiser will go to a handful of strikers who lost their jobs permanently as a result of a management decision to transfer some tasks to its station in Calgary.
"Obviously, we're saddened that not all of the strikers are going back to work - and we're doing what we can for those workers," says Steel. "But, at the end of the day, this is really a hopeful, even inspiring story. It sends the message that, if they stand together, workers and members of the community can derail the agendas of even the largest corporations."
For more information call:
Les Steel, AFL President @ 780-483-3021 (wk) 780-499-4135 (cell)
Gil McGowan, AFL Communications @ 780-483-3021 (wk) 780-910-1137 (cell)
EDMONTON - The Alberta Federation of Labour and the union representing striking A-Channel workers have jointly filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against A-Channel. The unions claim the station attempted to unfairly muzzle the strikers and stop them from communicating with the public. In particular, they say the station tried to de-rail a union-sponsored ad campaign by sending threatening letters to Edmonton area media outlets that had already agreed to run the ads.
"It's a huge irony," says AFL president Les Steel, whose organization worked with the Communication, Energy Paperworkers Local 1900 to design and launch the ad campaign.
"Here we have a company that's in the business of disseminating news and information to the public. But when it comes to news and information from its own employees, they try to throw the muzzle on. It's the height of hypocrisy."
Local 1900's chairperson Adrian Pearce echoed Steel's indignation over A-Channel's actions, adding the station was essentially attempting to coerce other media outlets into breaking contracts with the strikers - something that is clearly not permitted under Canadian civil law.
"We think it's unethical for a news agency like A-Channel to try to impose censorship and attack the freedom of speech that every group is entitled to under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," says Pearce. "A supposedly 'impartial' news gathering station should know better."
Shortly before the union's ad campaign was set to begin in the third week of October, various media outlets in the city received threatening letters from Gerhard Seifner, a lawyer with A-Channel's law firm, McLennan Ross. In the letters, Seifner warned that "anybody publishing this (union) material will be sued."
The threat of legal action was taken seriously by all the targeted news organizations - but it was particularly troubling for small, independent publications like Vue Weekly.
Despite the threats, all the radio stations and all but one of the newspapers contracted by the union eventually determined the ads were legally defensible and agreed to proceed with the campaign (but not without demanding unusual guarantees from the union). The only newspaper that reneged on its ad contract with the unions (the Edmonton Journal) eventually reversed its position and agreed to print the ad.
"From our perspective, this is a clear example of libel chill," says Steel. "A-Channel was using the threat of legal action to stop the flow of information to the public. That this was one media company trying to intimidate other media companies just makes the situation that much worse. The managers at A-Channel should be ashamed of themselves."
Copies of the union's statement of claim and A-Channel's letter are available upon request.
For more information call:
Adrian Pearce, Union Chair CEP 1900 @ 428-5270
Les Steel, AFL President @ 483-3021 or 499-4135
Gil McGowan, AFL Communication @ 483-3021 or 910-1137
EDMONTON - A large demonstration will still be held outside the CFL Dinner Friday night unless a last-minute deal can be reached to end the seven-month-old strike at the Shaw Conference Centre.
"At this point, there is good reason for optimism," says Les Steel, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. "But the deal is not done yet - and until it is, the rally is still a go."
Negotiations stalled over the past few days as managers at the Centre attempted to set terms for how a ratification vote would be held. But yesterday evening, the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) ruled that the union has the right to conduct its own vote, without interference from management.
As a result, the union has decided to put a deal, based on a report prepared by mediator Mike Necula, to its members for a vote tonight and tomorrow morning.
"If the members ratify the agreement, the ball will be in EDE's and City Council's court," said Alex Grimaldi, president of the Edmonton and District Labour Council (EDLC).
"If EDE accepts the results of the vote, the deal will be done and there will be no disruptions during Grey Cup weekend. But if they refuse to accept the vote, all bets are off. We hope City Council will use its clout as owner of the Conference Centre to pressure EDE into doing the right thing."
Using a football analogy, Steel said the ball has been moved into easy reach of the end zone - all that's needed is one final push to put six points on the board.
"It's third and goal with ten seconds on the clock," said Steel. "The workers and management have a chance to put this game away and keep the Grey Cup free of disruptions. But it's going to take one last burst of effort and good will. We have to make sure no one drops the ball."
Grimaldi agreed, adding that no one in the labour movement wants to rain on the Grey Cup parade.
"If a deal is reached, we'll turn our protest into a big tail-gate party," he said. "We want to be able to celebrate success for the Eskimos and an end to a bitter strike that has given our city a black eye."
For more information call
Les Steel, AFL President @ 780-499-4135 (cell)
Alex Grimaldi, EDLC President @ 780-940-6797 (cell)
EDMONTON - Hopes of a Grey Cup weekend free from disruptions and labour unrest are "disappearing fast" as a result of yet more examples of bad faith bargaining by management at the Shaw Conference Centre.
Last Friday, it looked like a deal had finally been reached to end the bitter six-month strike at the city-owned convention facility. But over the week-end, it became clear that managers at Economic Development Edmonton (EDE) are still more interested in busting the union than reaching a fair settlement with striking workers.
"We don't think it was a coincidence that EDE was sounding so hopeful and conciliatory on Friday morning," says AFL president Les Steel. "City Council was meeting to discuss the strike, with the possibility of intervening with binding arbitration. But Council backed-off when EDE convinced them that a deal was imminent. As it turned out, there was no deal - and EDE knew it. It's yet another example of EDE attempting to manipulate Council."
Steel says that after Council was convinced to stay out of the dispute, EDE returned to its hard-line approach to bargaining.
"At the time, there were only two items left on the table - the back-to-work agreement and the process for ratification," said Steel. "In most labour disputes, these are mere formalities. But in this case, EDE put forward demands that were so outrageous that it was obvious the workers couldn't accept. So far in this strike, EDE has been found guilty of bargaining in bad faith four times. This proves that they're still playing the same game."
Alex Grimaldi, president of the Edmonton and District Labour Council (EDLC), says the back-to-work agreement proposed by management doesn't guarantee that strikers will get their jobs back. And it even calls for a letter of resignation from a striker who was ordered reinstated by the Labour Relations Board. At the same time, EDE is trying to dictate how the ratification vote should be structured.
"Under the law, unions have the right to run their own votes with supervision from the Labour Relations Board, if necessary," says Grimaldi. "But EDE says they want to run the show, presumably in order to continue their campaign against the union."
Grimaldi says EDE is trying to portray itself as a defender of democracy - but their proposed vote would be no more democratic that the votes held in "tin-pot dictatorships were supporters of the ruling party are bused to voting stations and opponents are excluded."
"It's obvious they want to influence the vote, defeat the contract and set up a vote on decertification," agrees Steel. "That's why the workers can't accept these terms. And it's why - if nothing changes - there will probably be demonstrations at the Shaw Conference Centre during the Grey Cup. It's not what most union supporters would like to be doing - they'd rather be watching the game. But EDE is leaving us with no choice."
Both Steel and Grimaldi say that the only way to avoid demonstrations and disruptions during the Grey Cup is for City Council to finally realize that they're being "strung along" by EDE - and submit the dispute to binding arbitration.
For more information call:
Les Steel, AFL President 780-499-4135 (cell)
Alex Grimaldi, EDLC President 780-940-6797 (cell)
EDMONTON - The labour dispute at the Shaw Conference Centre has already resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in convention business - and if it drags on that figure could easily run into the millions.
That's the message delivered by major unions at a news conference in Edmonton this morning.
"The people who run the Conference Centre have been telling City Council that the strike has had no economic impact," says Les Steel, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"But nothing could be further from the truth. Unions have been canceling major events at the Conference Centre since the strike began in May. And, the amount of lost business is substantial."
At the news conference, it was revealed that several major unions - including the Alberta Teachers Association, the United Nurses of Alberta, the Carpenters Union and the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union - have already decided to divert more than $800,000 of business away from the Shaw.
The amount of potential revenue lost to other businesses in the downtown area was estimated at more than $10 million.
"Huge amounts of business are being lost - not only to the Convention Centre, but also to businesses in the downtown area," says Steel. "What we're trying to demonstrate is that there will be a big price to pay if this strike is allowed to drag on."
Steel says the labour movement would be happy to lift its boycott on the Shaw Centre - as soon as a fair settlement is reached with the striking workers.
"Boycotting the Shaw is not something we want to do," he says. "We'd love to do business with the Shaw - but that's not going to happen until they start treating their workers with respect. And it's not going to happen until the workers get the protection they deserve in the form of a fair and reasonable collective agreement."
Steel says the strike could be ended quickly and business returned to normal if EDE and the City would simply agree to submit the dispute to independent, third-party arbitration.
"Today we are announcing the amount of money that the union movement is diverting away from the Shaw, but we could just as easily be talking about the millions of dollars that would go into the conference centre if a fair settlement was in place. It's just a matter of political will."
For more information contact::
Les Steel, AFL President @ 780-499-4135
Gil McGowan, AFL Communications @ 780-483-3021
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF
SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE BOYCOTT
I. ALBERTA TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION (ATA)
The ATA holds three major conventions in Edmonton each year, often at the Shaw Conference Centre. The Greater Edmonton convention attracts 8,500 teachers. The North Central convention draws 5,800 teachers. And the East Central convention is attended by 1,400 teachers.
The ATA says all of these conventions may be moved from the downtown area if the Shaw strike is not resolved fairly.
Taken together, these conventions account for between $350,000 - $400,000 in revenue for the Conference Centre each year. But the implications for businesses in the downtown core are even more significant.
The ATA estimates that the Great Edmonton convention generates about $800,000 in business for downtown hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses. The North Central convention brings in about $1.74 million and the East Central about $150,000.
Revenue lost to Conference Centre: $350,000-400,000
Revenue lost to Downtown Businesses: $2.7 million
(Hotels, restaurants, transportation etc.)
II. United Nurses of Alberta (UNA)
UNA had signed agreements with the Shaw Conference Centre for their 2003 and 2004 Annual General Meetings. As a result of the strike, UNA has cancelled those bookings.
UNA's AGMs are two-day events that attract 400-500 nurses from around the province. In 1999, UNA spend $16,500 on their AGM at the Shaw. Assuming that prices haven't change significantly, the cancellation of the 2003 and 2004 bookings will cost the Shaw $33,000.
UNA has also decided to hold its one-day 2003 Negotiation Reporting Meeting (450 delegates) elsewhere. That's a loss of another $5,000 - $6,000 to the Shaw.
Assuming that delegates to UNA meetings spend $150 a day (hotel, food, transportation, shopping etc.) the total loss of revenue to the downtown businesses would be more than half a million dollars - just on these three events.
Revenue lost to Conference Centre: $38,000+
Revenue lost to Downtown Businesses: $515,000 (approx.)
(Hotels, restaurants, transportation etc.)
III. UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS (UBCJA)
The Edmonton local of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters will soon be holding a large function to celebrate its 100th anniversary. This gala, which is expected to attract more than 1,000 people, was originally scheduled to be held at the Shaw Conference Centre. But as a result of the strike, the location has been changed.
The Carpenters say they would have spent $150,000 at the Convention Centre. That money is now being spent at the University of Alberta's Butterdome.
The Carpenters also say the Convention Centre has now been taken out of the running for any of the union's upcoming international conventions. These five-day events typically attract 3,500 delegates from across Canada and the United States.
Assuming that delegates spend $150 a day on hotels, food, transportation etc., the amount of revenue lost to downtown businesses is about $2.6 million. Losses to the Convention Centre itself would probably been in excess of $200,000.
Revenue lost to Conference Centre: $350,000+
Revenue lost to Downtown Businesses: $2.6 million (approx.)
(Hotels, restaurants, transportation etc.)
IV. COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY & PAPERWORKERS UNION (CEP)
Edmonton was being considered for CEP's national convention in the Fall of 2004. However, as a result of the strike, the convention will be held elsewhere. CEP national conventions attract 1,400 delegates, 1,000 spouses, guests and observers over a six-day period. CEP estimates they would have paid at least $100,000 to the Shaw Conference Centre itself. Loss in economic spin-off to the Edmonton economy is estimated at more than four million dollars.
CEP also decided to hold its Western Regional Conference for the of Fall 2003 in another city. This conference attracts 500 delegates, 300 spouses and children and 100 staff, guests and observers.
CEP estimates that its decision to move this conference from Edmonton represents a loss of about $30,000 in direct lost revenue to the Conference Centre - and about $1,000,000 in economic spin-off for Edmonton businesses.
Revenue lost to Conference Centre: $130,000+
Revenue lost to Edmonton Businesses: $5.0 million (approx.)
(Hotels, restaurants, transportation etc.)
EDMONTON - A barbeque and rally is planned for tomorrow, August 27th, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. respectively at Sir Winston Churchill Square in front of City Hall.
WHEN: August 27th, 2002
WHAT: BBQ - 3:00 p.m. RALLY - 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: EDMONTON CITY HALL -
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL SQUARE
WHY: To support striking workers at the Shaw Conference Centre
This BBQ and rally has been planned to make Edmonton City Councillors and Edmontonians more aware of the issues in the dispute between striking members of United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 and the Shaw Conference Centre Board (Edmonton Economic Development).
The workers at the Shaw Conference Centre, members of UFCW 401, have been on strike since May 1st in an attempt to achieve a first collective agreement.
For more information call:
UFCW Local 401 Strike Headquarters @ 420-0245
Human Resources Minister Clint Dunford is picking sides in the labour dispute at the Shaw Conference Centre by refusing to meet with striking workers to discuss possible ways to end the strike, the Alberta Federation of Labour says today. The union had wanted to meet with the Minister to discuss the possibility of appointing a mediator or disputes resolution panel to end the strike.
"I fail to understand why the Minister is refusing to meet with us," says AFL President Les Steel. "But all appearances point toward the conclusion that the Minister does not want a resolution of this dispute."
The AFL sent a letter to the Minister (attached) requesting a meeting to discuss the possibility of a mediator or a disputes resolution panel to resolve the strike. The Minister's office replied indicating the Minister will not meet with the union or the AFL about the strike until it is ended.
"This is a classic catch-22. The Minister won't talk about a strike until there isn't a strike anymore."
Steel believes that by refusing to meet, the Minister is, in effect, taking sides in the dispute. "The employer has been convicted of bargaining in bad faith. They have shown themselves time and time again to be uninterested in finding a resolution to this dispute."
"But due to Alberta's weak labour laws, there is no penalty that can be imposed on the employer for their bad faith tactics. That leaves the Minister as the only recourse."
Which means, says Steel, that the Minister is passively condoning the illegal actions of the employer. "He is saying to those workers that he sides with the employer."
The Act allows the Minister to unilaterally appoint a panel to examine the outstanding issues and issue a recommendation. He has appointed such panels in the past, including during the ambulance workers strike.
"He seems willing to act when the employer wants a panel, but sits on his hands if the union wants one," Steel observes.
The Shaw Conference workers are on strike to reach a first agreement. They have been on strike for more than three months. Last month, the employer, Economic Development Edmonton, was found guilty by the labour relations board of bargaining in bad faith.
For more Information, contact:
Les Steel, President @ (780) 499-4135 (cell)
August 9, 2002
The Honourable Clint Dunford
Minister of Human Resources and Employment
Government of Alberta
Room 324, Legislature Building
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Dear Mr. Dunford:
I am writing to you regarding the strike at Edmonton's Shaw Conference Centre, which has now dragged on for over three months. I understand that Doug O'Halloran, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, has written to you requesting that you establish a Disputes Inquiry Board, under the provisions of Section 105 of the Alberta Labour Relations Code. I would like to assure you that the Alberta Federation of Labour supports that request, and urge you to act on it with all dispatch.
The Federation believes that the Employer's conduct in this strike is undermining the collective bargaining process and the intent of the Code. Specifically, the Employer is flagrantly disregarding a decision of the Alberta Labour Relations Board. On July 2nd, 2002 the ALRB rendered a decision finding that Economic Development Edmonton (EDE) had violated Section 60 (1) (b) of the Code, by failing to bargain in good faith. The decision outlined a pattern of misbehaviour by the EDE in unusually explicit language:
The Employer put forward proposals that it knew could never be accepted by the Union, in the context of this case. Some of the obvious areas of concern by the Union were with respect to basic and fundamental provisions such as union recognition and union security, and the Employer's insistence that it should be able to discipline and terminate employees without just cause. We find that the Employer insisted on its positions without a realistic possibility of change which forced the Union into a strike."
In its decision, the ALRB ordered the Employer to "Bargain collectively in good faith and make every reasonable effort to enter into a Collective Agreement." In response, EDE made minor cosmetic adjustments to its proposals and continued to stymie the negotiation process.
To give just one example: As you know, Section 135 of the Code requires that every Collective Agreement contain a method for resolving differences over the interpretation of the Agreement - a grievance procedure. Section 136 provides that if an Agreement does not have such a provision, it shall be deemed to contain a provision laid out in Section 136, which includes an arbitration procedure in the event the parties are unable to resolve an issue. This is, for example, the standard way Unions and Employers resolve grievances around issues of discipline on the rare occasions they are unable to reach a resolution internally.
These provisions of the Code are designed to set a minimum standard for Collective Agreements. But the EDE has proposed contract language that would remove from an arbitrator any discretion over appropriate punishment for employee misconduct, substituting instead automatic termination for any one of a long list of offences, regardless of circumstances. In other words, EDE is trying to "underbargain" the minimum standards of the Code.
In correspondence dated July 23rd (three weeks after the ALRB decision) signed by EDE legal representative Fausto Franceschi and addressed to Mr. O'Halloran, EDE outlines proposals that it knows cannot be accepted by the Union. Appended to two of these proposals is the following remark:
"EDE's proposal also reflects EDE's belief that the union continues to have minimal bargaining unit support. Almost all EDE bargaining unit employees continue to attend work as scheduled despite the union initiating strike action against EDE on May 3, 2002. Moreover, we are aware that a significant number of employees working at the Shaw Conference Centre have expressed the view that they do not consider themselves to be represented by the union, nor do they want any further involvement with the union. This, in part, explains EDE's position regarding union security."
In this statement EDE is announcing that, notwithstanding the results of a certification vote supervised by the Alberta Labour Relations Board, it is not prepared to treat the Union as the legitimate representative of the employees at the Centre!
This is not just a strike that has dragged on too long. By ignoring or circumventing decisions of the ALRB, by continuing to bargain in bad faith, the EDE is undermining the integrity of the Collective Bargaining process in Alberta, as well as the legislation that governs labour relations and the body that applies and enforces that legislation.
That is why the Federation urges you to respond favourably to the request of Mr. O'Halloran and the United Food and Commercial Workers, and exercise your authority under Section 105 of the Code to establish a Disputes Inquiry Board.
ALBERTA FEDERATION OF LABOUR