EDMONTON – The innocuous-sounding “Employee Labour Relations Support Program,” announced today by the UCP, is really a union-busting initiative and part of a larger wage suppression agenda being pursued by the Kenney government, says the president of Alberta largest worker advocacy organization.
“It might sound innocent on first blush, but nobody should be fooled. This is part of a larger UCP agenda aimed at weakening unions and undermining the bargaining power of working Albertans,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
McGowan says the UCP’s latest announcement needs to be viewed in the context of other moves taken by the UCP since forming government in April. “Let’s look at their record over the past few months,” says McGowan. “They cut the minimum wage for teenagers and froze it for everyone else. They gave employers a mechanism to get around paying time-and-a-half for overtime. They tore up sections of duly-negotiated and legally-binding contracts with public sector workers. Now they’re setting up a new office within the Labour Relations Board to encourage people to dump their unions. “It all adds up to a wage suppression agenda. This is clearly not what Albertans voted for in the last election and it raises serious questions about who the UCP is really working for – ordinary Albertans or employers.”
McGowan says that the UCP’s emerging low-wage agenda should be of concern to all working Albertans, not just those who work in unionized environments. “The evidence from around the world is clear: when government’s use their power to weaken unions and discourage collective bargaining, all workers pay the price in the form of lower wages, fewer benefits and reduced job security. That’s the last thing working Albertans want; and the last thing our economy needs.”