Alberta unions to Jason Kenney: Don’t you dare cut the minimum wage!

Online campaign aims to stop UCP from dropping Alberta’s wage floor

EDMONTON – Yesterday, in response to questions from the opposition leader, Premier Kenney attacked previous minimum wage increases and refused to rule out or deny plans for further rollbacks to Alberta’s minimum wage. This in spite of regularly repeated campaign promises that "no one is proposing to get rid of the $15 minimum wage" and that rolling back the $15 minimum wage would be a "non-starter".

“Jason Kenney was clear when campaigning that he would not rollback the $15 minimum wage for workers, yet now that the election is over he’s changing his tune,” said Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan, “in short he lied to Albertans.”

On October 1, 2018, over a quarter million working Albertans received the raise they deserve because of a $15 minimum wage. Thousands of working Albertans, mostly women and those from marginalized communities, now benefit from this important change.

“The truth is that increasing Alberta's minimum wage has helped hundreds of thousands of working Albertans and boosted Alberta’s economy,” said McGowan. “The alarmist claims made by business lobby groups about job losses were proven false with real data on employment. In fact, our minimum wage increases have never led to job losses in the economic sectors most likely to employ low-wage workers. And now, Alberta has seen the evidence.”

By putting more money in the pockets of workers, who recirculate that money in the local economy, Alberta’s minimum wage increases helped small and local businesses thrive. From 2015 to 2019 jobs increased alongside minimum wage increases, even as employers and special interest groups continued to make ludicrous claims about impending job losses.

“Many workers earning minimum wage have been on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic doing crucial work like making sure food was available or working to ensure seniors are safe and healthy. On the other hand, many other low-wage workers were unable to work during the pandemic due to public health restrictions,” said McGowan. “All of these workers deserve a raise now, not a freeze or rollback.”

Today the Alberta Federation of Labour is re-launching its 15 is Fair campaign, including an email tool to allow Albertans to join in the call for the Kenney government to keep their promises on minimum wage.

“Minimum wage earners work hard. $15 is Fair. It gives workers the dignity, the recognition, and the spending power they deserve. We call on Premier Kenney to keep his promise and commit to no further rollbacks to Alberta’s minimum wage,” concluded McGowan.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Ramona Franson
Director of Communications, AFL
rfranson@afl.org