October 2013: Parkland Institute Annual Conference; Superstore Workers Win Vastly Improved Offer After Three-Day Strike; Help Defend Alberta Pensions; AFL Makes Final Argument in Favour o...
Parkland Institute Annual Conference
The Parkland Institute is putting Facts, Fictions, and the Politics of Truth under the microscope at their 17th Annual Conference, Nov. 22-24 at the University of Alberta.
The conference will examine how governments have been increasingly limiting the ability of scientists to speak about their research, and how important research has been defunded.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges will be presenting a keynote speech on his latest book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. Other speakers will include Arno Kepecky, Katie Gibbs, and internationally syndicated columnist Michael Geist.
For more information, please visit the convention page at http://parklandinstitute.ca/fallconf2013
Superstore Workers Win Vastly Improved Offer After Three-Day Strike
UFCW 401 celebrated a victory in the fight for fair wages after signing a new contract with Loblaws.
More than 8,500 workers returned to work after a three-day strike was resolved with a new collective agreement.
“The new contract is one that the employees can be proud of, and now includes none of the most troubling concessions that were there when they went on strike,” UFCW president Douglas O’Halloran said.
The improvements in the newly ratified deal include wage increases in every year of the Collective Agreement, along with retroactive pay, as well as money for a brand new sick pay plan for part-time workers and significant improvements to the full-time benefits.
“We’re proud of our brothers and sisters at UFCW who stood up to unreasonable employer demands, and won a major victory,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Many AFL members from a broad cross section of the labour movement are glad to have stood in solidarity with UFCW. The number of our members – and the number of Albertans – who refused to cross the picket line was inspiring.”
Help Defend Alberta Pensions
On Sept. 16, most Alberta public sector unions received word from the Redford Government that it intends to implement major change to public sector pension plans, including the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP), which includes many of our members.
For now, affected unions are working together to change the government’s mind. The coalition includes the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, United Nurses of Alberta and the Alberta Federation of Labour.
Hardworking Alberta workers deserve a decent, predictable and secure retirement income after years of working and contributing to their pension plan. This real retirement security is best and most efficiently provided by a jointly governed defined benefit pension plan. For public-sector workers, the Local Authorities Pension Plan has worked for 50 years and it can continue working into the future without drastic changes so long as workers and employers are given the ability to manage the plan.
The Alberta Federation of Labour urges you to let the government know that you oppose the undermining of Alberta’s public-sector pension plans. Visit the website www.defendalbertapensions.ca to send a letter to Finance Minister Doug Horner.
AFL Makes Final Argument in Favour of Enbridge Line 9 Pipeline
The Alberta Federation of Labour president submitted final arguments to the National Energy Board in favour of the Enbridge Line 9 Project today.
AFL president Gil McGowan said he supports Line 9 because it keeps value-added jobs in Canada, and is good for the people of Alberta and the people of Quebec. Line 9 will expand and reverse the flow of Line 9 and 9B, connecting the Synthetic Crude Oil coming from Alberta's upgraders to refineries in Quebec.
"Line 9 connects Alberta's upgraders, and all the good-paying jobs that go with them, to refineries in Quebec, where thousands of good jobs are also at stake. It provides a market for synthetic crude, and keeps value-added jobs in both our provinces," McGowan said. "Line 9 allows Quebec refineries to stop importing higher-cost crude from Angola, Nigeria, and Algeria, and instead allows them to buy Alberta's upgraded products, which enhances Canadian energy security."
The AFL is a frequent intervener in National Energy Board pipeline proceedings. The Federation has intervened against Keystone, Keystone XL, Southern Lights, Alberta Clipper, and Northern Gateway, on the grounds that these pipelines ship raw bitumen, and therefore value-added jobs, down the pipeline to the United States or China. This is the first time the Federation has intervened in favour of a pipeline project at the National Energy Board.
Download the AFL press release issued Oct 3:“AFL Makes Final Argument in Favour of Enbridge Line 9 Pipeline”: http://www.afl.org/index.php/Press-Release/afl-makes-final-argument-in-favour-of-enbridge-line-9-pipeline.html
Did you know…
- The average LAPP pension is just under $14,958 per year – and only after years of work and pension contributions.
- The LAPP Pension Fund fluctuates in value because of the stock market. It is currently on track to be in surplus within 10 years.
- Almost one in every 10 Albertans has a stake in either the LAPP or the PSPP.
November 1: Alberta NDP Convention in Lethbridge
November 22-24: Parkland Institute Conference in Edmonton
December 10: AFL Open House…in the new Office!
Alberta's evidence contains multi-billion-dollar inflation of Northern Gateway benefits
Government consultant admits upgrading would solve market access problem
Edmonton - The Alberta Federation of Labour has identified a multi-billion-dollar error in the Government of Alberta evidence, showing the government's consultants are massively overstating the benefits of the pipeline to producers.
While the Government of Alberta analysis shows $8 billion/year impact if we do not have Northern Gateway access to Asian markets. That figure has been widely cited (see below). Under cross-examination, the government's consultant indicated the $8 billion-dollar impact was only for one year, not every year.
"Canadian producers not having sufficient access to premium heavy crude refining markets could lose about US $8 a barrel for every Canadian heavy crude barrel, with a revenue impact averaging $8 billion per year from 2017 to 2025," said the report, completed for the province by Wood Mackenzie.
Under cross-examination, the Government of Alberta consultant conceded to AFL counsel that pacing development and upgrading bitumen to synthetic crude oil – creating thousands of jobs – would also alleviate the problem of "market access," but that these alternatives were not explored in his report.
"The bottom line is Alberta is selling the wrong product," says Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"The glut of bitumen on the market is a result of bitumen looking for appropriate refineries. If the product was SCO, we could be selling the product to any refinery in North America."
Canadian Press, Dean Bennett, September 4, 2012.
MEDIA CONTACT: Gil McGowan, President Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell) or 780-483-3021 (office)
Reality Check: Few permanent jobs with the Northern Gateway pipeline
Alberta will see only 24 permanent jobs from the pipeline should it be approved, despite billions of dollars of bitumen exported from our province, according to evidence submitted by Enbridge today at the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings.
The evidence – which can be viewed here – was submitted by Enbridge after questioning by the Alberta Federation of Labour.
These are real, actual jobs associated with pipeline operations, not projected spinoffs from increased corporate revenues.
Enbridge forecasts that the pipeline will bring only 228 permanent jobs across the entire pipeline, with the vast majority of them – 183 jobs – in Kitimat, BC. Alberta will get a mere 24 permanent jobs from pipeline operations.
This is down from 26 permanent jobs for Alberta the company originally promised when they first submitted their regulatory filings for the proposed pipeline.
About the AFL Northern Gateway Reality Check Series
The Alberta Federation of Labour is a full intervener in the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The debate around the Northern Gateway pipeline is heated, and we hear governments and industry saying all kinds of things to justify locking Canada in to being a raw resource producer, but never move up the value chain with our natural resource wealth.
“The Northern Gateway pipeline hollows out our value-added industries, imposes higher oil prices on consumers, and rewrites the rules of Canada’s oil industry by reducing the amount of oil refined in Canada and shipping those jobs to China.”
- Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour
CALGARY - Starting today and continuing tomorrow, lawyers representing the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) will grill executives from Enbridge Pipelines on their plans to build yet another massive "bitumen highway" to refineries and upgraders in the United States.
The cross-examination will take place at the offices of National Energy Board in Calgary as the Board considers Enbridge's application to build a new pipeline, dubbed the Alberta Clipper. If approved, the Clipper will have the capacity to transport more than 600,000 barrels of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to buyers south of the border each day.
"We're not opposed to new pipelines," says AFL president Gil McGowan. "But the big question is: what are these pipelines going to be used to transport? We should be shipping value-added products, not diluted bitumen. If these pipelines end up being nothing more than bitumen highways, then we'll be exporting literally thousands of high-paying, family-sustaining jobs along with our oil. That's simply not in the best interests of Albertans."
McGowan says the Stelmach government's recently announced plan to take an undetermined amount of bitumen in lieu of royalties and make it available for domestic upgrading is an "interesting idea" - but he says it doesn't come close to being the kind of comprehensive "Alberta first" upgrading strategy that the province needs.
"We'll be asking the Board to reject Enbridge's development application or at least delay making a final ruling until the Alberta government has put a comprehensive policy in place," says McGowan.
"If this project is approved - on top of TransCanada Pipelines' Keystone project that was approved in September - then it will be game over. Big energy companies will start investing in U.S. upgrading capacity and Alberta will have missed its opportunity. We simply can't afford to let these pipelines proceed until Alberta has put a value-added policy framework in place. If the pipelines come first, developing a policy will be like closing the barn door after the horse has already gotten out."
In addition to challenging the Alberta Clipper, the AFL is supporting the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada in its efforts to lobby the Federal cabinet to stop the Keystone pipeline from winning final approval. The cabinet has to give final approval to all recommendations from the NEB - something it hasn't yet done with the Keystone project.
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For more information call:
Gil McGowan, AFL President @ 780.218-9888 (cell)