April 2013: Join us at the AFL's 9th Biennial Convention, Unions Stand up for Majority of Albertans, STRIKE! The Musical, Solidarity with Post-Secondary Education
Unions Stand Up for Majority of Albertans
In the lead up to Alberta’s 2013 budget, Alberta’s public sector unions worked together to advance the interests of the majority of Albertans.
The Alberta Federation of Labour, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Alberta Teachers’ Association, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, United Nurses of Alberta and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta presented a united front against austerity policies and draconian cuts.
Polling, conducted by Environics in advance of the provincial budget showed that more than 70 per cent of Albertans reject public service cuts. More than three quarters of those polled agreed that there should be an increase on taxes for wealthy Albertans and for corporations. The majority of Albertans believe that the province should be investing more in health care, education and other services.
“Albertans aren’t as conservative as Alison Redford seems to believe,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “She needs to listen better. Not to the radical tea party Tories, but to the majority of Albertans who are quietly progressive, and who want this province to be healthy and prosperous.”
STRIKE! The Musical
The Alberta Federation of Labour is proud to be bringing STRIKE! The Musical to Edmonton for its Alberta premiere.
This award-winning theatrical production, which tells the story of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, will be at the Timms Centre for the Performing Arts April 24 – April 28.
“When I saw Strike! three years ago in Winnipeg, I knew we needed to bring it to Alberta,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “The 100th anniversary of the AFL was the perfect opportunity to organize this production. It’s an important story about the history of Canadian labour, and it’s one that inspires pride in the activism and work that our member unions do.”
For more information or to order tickets, please visit www.strikemusical.com
Solidarity with Post-Secondary Education
More than 500 students, workers, educators and activists marched on the legislature on March 15.
The rally, which was organized by the Coalition for Action on Post-Secondary Education, was protesting the massive cuts the Alberta Government imposed on universities and colleges throughout the province. The University of Alberta faces a 7.2 per cent cut.
Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan spoke at the rally, noting that the province’s economy depends on having a quality education system.
Join us at the AFL’s 9th Biennial Convention
More than 500 labour activists, leaders and delegates will gather at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown Edmonton from April 25 – 28 for the Alberta Federation of Labour’s 9th Biennial Convention.
The convention, which has the theme “Unions Stand on Guard for Thee,” will examine how the labour movement has helped create, and protect the prosperous, inclusive society of which Canadians are rightfully proud.
Coming from all corners of Alberta, delegates will celebrate the achievements of unions, hear from dozens of speakers, and help chart the direction of our further growth.
Registration starts Wednesday, April 24 and continues on Thursday, April 25.
2013 AFL Convention runs Thursday, April 25, 2013 - Sunday, April 28, 2013.
Convention Committees meet Wednesday, April 24.
AFL Council meets Tuesday, April 23.
Convention venue is the Shaw Conference Centre
Convention hotel is the Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe
Location: Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton
Contact: Maureen Werlin at email@example.com or 780-483-3021
April 28 – International Day of Mourning for Dead and Injured Workers
May 1 – May Day March
May 3 – Deadline to register for Summer Labour School
June 14 - Deadline to register AFL Kids Camp
Did you know ...
After production and development costs are factored in, Alberta only collects 54 per cent of the the excess profit from heavy oil production. By comparison, Norway collects 80 per cent, Russia collects 73 per cent and Angola collects 71 per cent.
- Once ravaged by debt and war, higher oil royalties have helped Angola turn a budget deficit of 8.6 per cent of GDP in 2009 into a surplus of 12 per cent of GDP in 2012.
- Alberta has the highest pay gap in Canada. Alberta women working full year and full time earn a median 68 per cent of what men earn. The pay gap is reduced for women in unions – to about 85 per cent of what men earn.
- According to Environics polling conducted in February, 77 per cent of Albertans support increased taxes on corporations and those making more than $200,000.
November 2012: Help us defeat Bill C-377, TFW program under the microscope, AFL and UFCW lead the charge for food safety
Temporary Foreign Worker program under the microscopeThe Alberta Federation of Labour will be paying close attention to the Federal review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that was announced on November 8, 2012.
The program will be reviewed due to criticism over the approval of a deceitful application that allowed a northeast B.C. coal project to hire 200 Chinese nationals for jobs that could have been filled locally. The AFL has concerns that the review will be used as a smokescreen to hide deeper problems, and called for meaningful participation from labour activists and from the public at large.
If they want to find the source of the problems with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Harper Conservatives just need to look in the mirror," AFL president Gil McGowan said. "They created this monster by removing any checks and balances from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and by rubberstamping every application."
For more information see Nov 9 AFL release and backgrounder.
AFL and UFCW lead the charge for food safety
- The Alberta Federation of Labour and United Food and Commercial Workers are calling on Premier Alison Redford to stand up for the province's beef industry by conducting an independent public inquiry.
In a public letter sent to the Premier on Thursday, October 18, AFL president Gil McGowan and UFCW Local 401 president Doug O'Halloran explained the reasons a public inquiry into the causes of the E.Coli outbreak at the Lakeside plant in Brooks would be in the best interest of consumers, the cattle industry and of Albertans.
Read the whole story: Oct 18 AFL Release
Help us defeat Bill C-377
- The Alberta Federation of Labour is calling on all of our affiliates and members to help quash the anti-union Bill C-377.
This private-members bill is not about transparency; it is an effort on the part of the Harper Government to undermine the ability of unions to act as an effective voice for working people. The bill is designed to increase costs to unions and divert resources from collective bargaining and servicing towards accounting and bureaucracy.
"This is a political bill. In the same way that they have cut funding to environmental groups and women's groups, they are trying to weaken and muzzle a strong progressive voice," Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. "We have an obligation to act together to protect the labour movement, and in doing so, protect broader civil society."
To join the fight, contact your Member of Parliament: CLICK HERE
Download the AFL Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Bill C-377: CLICK HERE
November 23-25: Parkland Institute's 16th Annual Fall Conference: Petro, Power and Politics
November 24: International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women
December 4: AFL Open House
December 7: Deadline to register for 2013 AFL/CLC Winter School
Did you know ...
- In 2010, 74 per cent of employers with workers under the TFW Program were found to be in violation of the Alberta Labour Code.
- There are currently more than 60,000 Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta, giving the province the biggest TFW population in Canada as a proportion of the labour force.
- More than 50,000 additional TFW applications from Alberta employers were approved in 2011.
- Between 2002 and 2008, the number of TFWs present in Canada rose by 148 per cent, from 101,259 to 251,235.
August 2012: Two-tier minimum wage; AFL 100 years Labour Day; AB govt no longer reports farm fatalities; Harper's low-wage agenda; Bogus labour-shortage figures; Billions lost in royaliti...
Two-Tier Minimum Wage
- lberta's poorly written two-tier minimum wage system is open to abuse by employers who are taking advantage of these laws to rip off the lowest-paid workers in Alberta. West End Swiss Chalet is one example. For more information see Aug 31 AFL release and backgrounder
AFL's 100 Years
- sure to have a look at our insert in the Edmonton Journal on Friday, August 31, 2012 – a special Labour Day message from Gil McGowan and a 10 page special on the past and present struggles of workers in Alberta.
Government trying to erase agricultural workers by no longer reporting farm fatalities
- The Alberta government's decision to stop reporting farm fatalities is an attempt to move the issue to the back burner and off the public radar. Farm workers are already left unprotected under health and safety regulations. For more information see Aug 20 AFL release.
Government documents reveal source of Harper's low-wage agenda
- nternal federal government documents show the source of Harper's low-wage agenda. Last year, a select group of CEOs and other business leaders were invited by the federal Conservatives to an annual closed-doors conference where they urged the Tories to adopt measures to reduce the pay of Canadian workers, limit union power by enacting U.S.-style right-to-work legislation, and allow two-tier health care. For more information...
AFL shows government using bogus labour-shortage figures
- The government is using bizarre calculations to show a catastrophic "labour shortage" even though their own figures show a labour surplus for every year until 2021. The AFL revealed that the government's own figures show the supply of labour exceeding the demand for labour – a labour surplus – well into the future. For more information see July 25 AFL release and backgrounder
New Study shows billions in lost royalty revenue after Northern Gateway
- he Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) and Parkland Institute released a study showing Albertans will let billions slip through their fingers if the Northern Gateway Pipeline is approved and constructed. If Alberta met royalty targets in place when Lougheed was Premier, the province would have $1 trillion in the Heritage Fund by 2039. For more information... see Aug 9 AFL release and backgrounder
Statement from Gil McGowan on the proposed takeover of Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
- Does it matter who owns the oil sands? You bet it does!" explains AFL president Gil McGowan. "If foreign governments are allowed to expand in Alberta through companies like China National, they'll develop the oil sands in their own best interest, not in the best interest of Canadians." For more information...July 24 AFL release
UFCW 1118 workers on strike for fair wages and working conditions
- FCW 1118 sisters and brothers at Lilydale Foods' North Edmonton shop are on strike for wages comparable to those in other Lilydale plants. The employer refuses to pay wages on par with other Lilydale plants despite the fact that these workers work harder by handling larger and heavier poultry. The employer has cut the number of workers on the floor, meaning those left on the floor have to work harder while their wages have remained the same. Workers are also asking for a guaranteed minimum number of hours per week. There are about 200 workers on strike in shifts of about 75. Support these workers on the picket line at 127 Avenue and 76 Street in Edmonton. Pickets will be going in shifts between Monday and Friday, 6:00 AM and 6:30 PM.
September2:Calgary Pride Parade
September 3: EDLC Labour Day BBQ
September 3: Labour Day
September 5: Official Opening Historical Display, Alberta Provincial Museum
September 7: AFL Education Committee
September 8: World Literacy Day
September 10: AFL Women's Committee
September 11: AFL WOCAW Committee
October 1: AFL Pride and Solidarity Committee
October 2-3: AFL Executive Council
October 8: Thanksgiving
October 14-17: CEP National Convention
October 17: National Day for the Eradication of Poverty
October 18: Persons Day
November 23-25: Parkland Fall Conference
January 14-19, 2013: AFL Weeklong School
June 2012: Party of the Century; Harper attacks workers' wages; AB government low-wage agenda; oil-sands debate
Thousands of union supporters to gather for Centennial celebration
- More than 3,000 supporters of the labour movement will converge on Fort Edmonton Park tomorrow (Saturday, June 16) to celebrate 100 years of union victories in Alberta. "Much of what makes this province a great place to work, to live and to raise our families has been brought to us by union members," says Gil McGowan, president of the AFL, which celebrates its centennial this year. For more about the day, click here. Click here to see the lineup of events.
Harper government launches attacks on workers' wages
- A number of federal government initiatives revealed the Harper government has embarked on a campaign to drive down wages in Canada. These include new rules that would make it easier for employers to hire temporary foreign workers and to pay them 15 per cent less than the prevailing wage rate in the area. For more information ... The federal Tories will also change Employment Insurance rules to force Canadians to accept low-wage jobs - for more information ...
Alberta government's low-wage agenda continues
- The federal Tory government is not alone in its low-wage policies. Despite announcing a raise in the province's minimum wage, the Alberta government kept its rate as the second lowest in Canada, despite the wealth in the province and the high cost of living here. To make matters worse, in a blatant case of spin-doctoring, the Alberta Tories tried to make the small raise look better than it really was. For more information ...
AFL president praises Mulcair for igniting oil-sands debate
- While right-wing media went into attack mode against federal NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair after he talked about the dangers posed to the Canadian economy by an overheated oil-sands industry, the AFL came to his defence. AFL president Gil McGowan said Mulcair should be thanked for igniting a long-overdue debate about the appropriate pace of development in the oil sands. "The oil sands are crucially important to the economy. That's why we can't afford to get it wrong. And we are getting it wrong," says McGowan. The wild-west pace of development in the oil sands is driving up the Canadian dollar, creating a labour shortage, driving up costs for business, and creating an unbalanced economy. Government failure to capture appropriate royalties makes the situation worse. For more information ...
$5 tickets for Party of the Century still available!- After 100 years of fighting for workers' rights, tomorrow (Saturday, June 16) we party, party, party! Thanks to generosity of our affiliated unions and the City of Edmonton, there are still some tickets available at the greatly reduced price of only $5. That's right – only $5 per person for a while day of fun at Fort Edmonton Park, from the parade in the morning, musical performances by award-winning singers and musicians throughout the day, kids' games, crafts and the AFL's undelegated convention. Tickets are available at the park. Free shuttle buses are also available.
June 21: National Aboriginal Day
July 1: Canada Day
July 2: International Day of Co-operatives
July 10: World Population Day
July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day
August 6-10: AFL Kids' Camp
August 6: Civic Day
August 8: International Day of the World's Indigenous People
August 11: International Youth Day
Did you know ...
Top 10 Ways a Wild West pace of oil-sands development hurts Alberta workers, families and the economy.
- The Three Stooges problem: When everybody rushes to get through a door at the same time, they all get stuck. That's what's happening with the oil sands.
- Cost escalation: A recent report showed oil-sands construction projects went over budget by an average of 100 per cent, but most of that increase was not due to rising wages, but to the rising cost of steel and productivity losses.
- Temporary foreign workers: New rules allowing employers to pay TFWs 15 per cent less than the prevailing wage in the area will drive down wages for all workers. Relying too heavily on TFWs will mean we are squandering the opportunity to train a whole generation of skilled Canadian tradespeople.
- Remaking labour relations: Non-union employers are exploiting the oil-sands situation to push for changes to rules governing labour that include repealing the Fair Wages Act, changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program, changes to Employment Insurance and using back-to-work legislation to undermine collective bargaining.
- Shipping good jobs down the pipeline: We upgrade only 60 per cent of our raw bitumen in Alberta, but that level is set to fall to less than 50 per cent in the next few years. This means that the good, value-added upgrading jobs are being shipped down the pipeline to other jurisdictions, instead of being kept here.
- Manufacturing jobs take yet another beating: Cost escalation means more manufacturing for the oil sands will be "off-shored," meaning more good jobs lost in Alberta. Imperial Oil has already tried it at its Kearl Lake project and several big construction firms have already been approached by manufacturing outfits in Mexico.
- Albertans are being fleeced on royalties: Royalties are paid after energy companies pay their costs. So if costs are going up, it means that royalties will go down.
- The Wild Wes stampede to the oil sands hurts other sectors of the economy: The high Canadian dollar hurts Alberta manufacturers, as well as those in Ontario and Quebec. According to Alberta Finance's Monthly Economic Review, we lost 18,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector in the last year.
- We are an international embarrassment: If we allow the Wild West pace of development to continue, we will continue to be an international laughingstock on our environmental commitments. The only way to get serious about climate change, environmental monitoring, and enforcement is to appropriately pace development.
- We are failing the rest of the country: There are only three ways ordinary Canadians get their share of our collectively owned resource wealth jobs, wages and royalties. But as a result of the current model for development, increasing numbers of the short-term jobs are going to guest workers and more and more of the long-term jobs are going down the pipeline. Wages are being suppressed and royalties are being given away – all because the government doesn't want to take a leadership role in managing the pace of development.
February 21 2012: Beyond Acute Care Conference; Better Way Alberta; Budget 2012; farm workers; HSAA information pickets
Last chance to see Ralph Nader and Maude Barlow at Beyond Acute Care Conference
- You have only until tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday, Feb. 22) to register for the Beyond Acute Care: Covering Seniors and the Disabled with the Medicare Umbrella. This is an important event affecting all Albertans, bringing in experts from around the world and across Canada, including world-renowned consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Maude Barlow, of the Council of Canadians. For information on the conference and to register, click here; want to find out what the conference is all about? Watch this great animated video here.
For information about the speakers at the Beyond Acute Care conference, click here ...
Great video ad shows there is a Better Way for Alberta
- It just doesn't add up! Alberta is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions on Earth, but can't seem to find enough money to adequately fund the public services that Albertans want, including health care and education. The reason? Our tax and royalty system is broken and wealthy individuals and corporations aren't paying their fair share. But there is a Better Way. Watch the great video ad for Better Way Alberta. Here the cheeky radio ads, follow the campaign on Twitter and like the Facebook page at www.BetterWayAlberta.ca. For more information ...
Tax and royalty giveaways continue in Alberta's Budget 2012
- The first budget from Conservative Premier Alison Redford showed that little has changed in the government's attitude to the oil industry and wealthy corporations. There was no sign of an end to billions of dollars in tax and royalty giveaways and no honest conversation with Albertans on how to fix the province's broken revenue system. For more information ...
Alberta government must act now to prevent farm-worker tragedy
- A transportation tragedy on the scale that killed 11 farm workers in Ontario in early February is looming in Alberta unless the government acts now to prevent it, says the AFL. It called on the Conservatives to close the legal loopholes that allow farm workers to be transported in the back of open trucks and in other dangerous vehicles now - not to wait until there's a tragic accident in this province. For more information ...
Join HSAA members on information pickets - HSAA will be holding information pickets tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb. 22)from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Bargaining with AHS broke down after 10 months when they finally tabled a monetary package that included an "offer" of 0, 0 and Cost of Living and failed to address the issues brought forward by the HSAA membership. Please show you support by joining them at the following locations:
- Edmonton: University of Alberta Hospital - 112th Street entrance
- Edmonton: Royal Alexandra Hospital - Kingsway Avenue
- Edmonton: Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital - 111th Avenue
- Calgary: Foothills Medical Centre - Main Entrance on 29th St. NW
- Calgary: Peter Lougheed Centre - 36th St. NE
- Red Deer: Red Deer Regional Hospital - 50A Ave
- Medicine Hat: Medicine Hat Regional Hospital - 5 St. SW
- Fort McMurray: Northern Lights Regional Health Centre - Hospital Street
- Grand Prairie: Queen Elizabeth II Hospital - 105 Ave
HSAA President Elisabeth Ballermann will be addressing the media from the University of Alberta Hospital picket.
For further information, visit http://www.hsaa.ca/home
- Attend the Calgary launch of Kevin Taft's Follow the Money - Ever wonder why Alberta's so rich, but our schools and hospitals seem to be so poor? MLA Kevin Taft has the answer in his new book, Follow the Money, and accompanying video documentary by award-winning producer Tom Radford. Join us for the Calgary launch of Follow the Money at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, at Memorial Park Library, 1221 2 Street S.W., Calgary. For details ... To view a clip from the documentary, click here ... For more information on the book ...
- February 24-25: Beyond Acute Care conference with Ralph Nader and Maude Barlow
- February 24-26: EDLC Annual Labour School
- March 8: International Women's Day
- March 21: International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- March 21-23: CUPE Alberta 62nd Annual Convention
- March 22: World Water Day
- April 3: International Day for Mine Awareness
- April 6: World Health Day
- April 21: Earth Day
- April 27: International Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed, suffer disease or injury as a result of work.
February 2012: Beyond Acute Care Conference; Better Way Alberta campaign; farm workers safety; health care; Burns Lake blast; 2012 Centennial
Register now to see Ralph Nader and Maude Barlow at conference on health care
- It's time that seniors and those with disabilities were covered by the medicare umbrella. World-renowned consumer-rights advocate Ralph Nader will be the keynote speaker on Friday, Feb. 24, at a major conference in Edmonton on provincial and national policies needed to ensure fair and compassionate care of seniors and the disabled. Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians will close the conference on Feb. 25. For more information ...
Coalition launches Better Way Alberta campaign on tax and royalty reform
- It just doesn't add up! Alberta is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions on Earth, but can't seem to find enough money to adequately fund the public services that Albertans want, including health care and education. The reason? Our tax and royalty system is broken and wealthy individuals and corporations aren't paying their fair share. But there is a Better Way. For more information ... Hear the cheeky radio ads, follow the campaign on Twitter and like the Facebook page at www.BetterWayAlberta.ca
- MLA Kevin Taft publishes book that asks Albertans to Follow the Money
Labour leaders from across Canada call on premiers to stand up for health care
- Canada's most important social program is universal health care, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced his intention to abdicate from his responsibility to defend it, opening the door to increased privatization. The presidents of the provincial and territorial Federations of Labour called on the Premiers to fight for health care and reject the PM's plan. For more information ...
Farm workers still waiting for Alberta government to take action on safety
- Three years ago, a judge investigating the death of farm worker Kevan Chandler recommended that the Alberta government extend the laws on workplace safety to include farm and ranch workers. The government has failed to heed the judge's call. With an average of 16 workers dying every year on agricultural sites, there's no excuse for this shameful inaction. Farm workers deserve the same rights as all other workers in this province. For more information ...
Join labour movement in rallying round community devastated by blast
- The community of Burns Lake, B.C., has been rocked by an explosion that levelled the Babine Forest Products mill. The Vancouver Sun describes the mill as "the lifeblood of Burns Lake, a small town in north-central B.C., providing 250 jobs and supporting hundreds more jobs in logging, timber hauling, welding and other services." The United Steelworkers and the B.C. Federation of Labour have joined forces to raise funds for families affected by the blast. To read about the effects of the blast ... To donate to the fund ...
- Centennial celebrations looming – and we need your help! The AFL will host its centennial celebrations in Fort Edmonton Park on June 16, 2012. This event is open to everyone. We would like to see ALL unions, members, their families, activists and the general public. We need your help in developing an "ACTIVIST" database or email addresses that would allow us to spread the word. Do you know former activists who helped build the movement in Alberta? Can you provide us with names and contact info? June 16 is a chance to celebrate 100 years of struggle and solidarity and recognize the role unions have played in advancing the rights of all workers. Help us make this event a great success! For more information ...
- February 3: Deadline for nominations for AFL International Women's Day Award 2012
- February 3: Deadline for nominations for May Day Solidarity Award 2012
- February 14: Calgary's 4th Annual Valentine's Day Women's Memorial March
- February 14: AFL Executive Committee
- February 14-15: AFL Executive Council
- February 15: WCB Labour Education Seminar: Understanding the Request for Review Process
- February 15: WCB Labour Education Seminar: Understanding WCB
- February 16: Deadline to register for Edmonton and District Labour Council (EDLC) Annual Labour School
- February 20: UN World Day of Social Justice
- February 24-25: Beyond Acute Care conference with Ralph Nader and Maude Barlow
- February 24-26: EDLC Annual Labour School
- March 8: International Women's Day
- March 21: International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- March 22: World Water Day
Did You Know ...
- Alberta is the only province with a flat tax, which disproportionately benefits high-income earners. Returning to a progressive tax system could generate billions of dollars by making the wealthy pay their fair share.
- Alberta has set the price it charges for its oil assets far lower than other jurisdictions. The province could collect billions more and still leave energy companies making a profit far more than is considered normal.
- According to a study conducted by the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute, the Alberta government would have taken in an additional $37 billion in revenue from energy companies over the past decade if it had met its own minimum targets for royalty collection.
- By the Alberta government's own estimates, we could increase taxes by nearly $11 billion a year and still be the lowest tax jurisdiction in the country! Such an increase would entirely eliminate the province's current $3-billion deficit, with almost $8 billion left over for savings or investment in services that Albertans value like education and health care.
- More than 90 per cent of the world's oil reserves are controlled by national energy companies and out of the reach of private companies. Of the remaining 10 per cent, half are in Alberta. So, if private companies want to get at the oil – and at $100 per barrel, they really do – they have to come here. This puts us in a strong bargaining position. For more information ...
November 2011: Canadian Wheat Board; Keystone XL decision; Occupy Movement; health and safety blitzes
Prairie labour groups defend Canadian Wheat Board
- The The Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Federations of Labour united to defend the Canadian Wheat Board against attack from the Harper government. In a joint statement, the labour groups said the plan to dismantle the wheat board was illegal and undemocratic. AFL President Gil McGowan said: "The real truth is that the Harper government believes in a free market only when it's good for large corporations. It wants to destroy the ability of farmers to freely and collectively bargain to get the best price for their goods. It's the same ideological attack Harper has made on the rights of workers to collectively bargain to get a fair deal for their work in back-to-work legislation at Canada Post and Air Canada." For more ... and AFL Joint Statement on Canadian Wheat Board
AFL applauds U.S. decision to delay Keystone XL decision
- Albertans should see the Obama administration's decision to delay its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline as an opportunity to get more value out of our bitumen, rather than shipping our raw resources and jobs down the pipeline to the U.S. "It is an opportunity for us to move up the value chain and create a more prosperous and stable economic future for Albertans," says AFL president Gil McGowan. For more ... and news story on Keystone XL decision
Occupy movement a force for positive change in Alberta
- While protesters at Occupy Edmonton and Calgary faced moves to force them from their camps, they earned praise from the AFL for bringing important issues to the fore. "The Occupation sites were vibrant reminders of deeper issues of economic inequality in Alberta. What is truly unsightly is the presence of a government that favours its corporate friends over the interests of all Albertans," said AFL president Gil McGowan. He said their message and voices "will continue to inspire positive change in this province." For November 26th AFL press release; for November 9th AFL press release; and for October 14th AFL press release ...
Want to be safe at work? Join a union!
- A blitz of construction worksites by Occupational Health and Safety inspectors revealed the shocking level of unsafe practices faced by Alberta workers, with nearly 400 orders issued after 600 inspections of 387 employers. While the AFL welcomed a move to add evening and weekend inspections, it said much more must be done to keep workers safe. The best solution is to allow workers to join unions. "The evidence is clear from Alberta and across the country that the presence of unions at construction sites reduces the number of injuries and fatalities," says Gil McGowan, AFL president. Meanwhile, the AFL welcomed the Alberta Court of Appeal's decision to uphold a ruling that that Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Co. can be prosecuted for the deaths of two oilsands workers. "Today's ruling makes it clear that if international companies want to do business here, they have to not only respect our laws, but also be accountable when they violate them," says McGowan. For November 8th AFL press release and for November 23rd AFL press release ...
- Rally for striking workers at Peri Formwork Systems in Calgary - The workers at Peri Formwork Systems in Calgary have been on strike since July 4, 2011. They are seeking fair compensation and improved working conditions in their first collective agreement. The members of Carpenters Local 2010 members have not received a pay increase in three years. Join the rally in support of these workers.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm,
29 Industry Way S.E., Calgary
- Sign the Declaration of Support for Jordan's Principle - Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation was ready to go home from hospital when he was two years old but spent over two years unnecessarily in hospital as the federal government and provincial governmentt could not agree on who should pay for his at home care. Jordan passed away at the age of five never having spent a day in a family home while governments continued to argue. Jordan's Principle seeks to ensure no other child becomes a victim of such jurisdictional disputes. Sign the petition here ...
- December 1: World AIDS Day
- December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- December 4: Commemorative Brunch
- December 6-7: AFL Executive Council
- December 6: AFL Open House
- December 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women
- December 9: Deadline for registration for AFL 2012 School
- December 18: International Migrants Day
- December 20: Deadline for registration for January 27-29 2012 Equinox Weekend
Did you know ...
If four new upgraders were built in Alberta, we'd gain:
- 52,000 person years of direct construction employment
- 10,960 person years of engineering work
- 4,000 permanent operations jobs
- An additional 12,000 supply, service and maintenance jobs
- $400 million per year in provincial corporate taxes (based on Alberta estimates)
- $780 million per year in federal corporate income taxes
(Source: Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, "Refine it where we mine it – Job creation,")
October 2011: Labour Code Review; Keystone XL pipeline; no protection for TFWs; safety on construction sites
- The Alberta government has embarked on a biased and secretive review of the province's Labour Code that threatens to introduce Tea Party inspired, Wisconsin-style changes to the rules governing workplaces. Affiliates of the AFL have united in their opposition to the union-busting and possibly illegal changes – and have warned the government to expect unprecedented labour unrest if it pushes ahead. For AFL September 28th press release; AFL August 26th press release; September 5th op-ed
Unions in bid to stop Canadian jobs being shipped down Keystone XL pipeline
- While Alberta and Canada's political leaders acted like sales executives pitching TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S., it was left to unions to fight for Canadian jobs. The AFL and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) went to Ottawa to explain to MPs that the pipeline would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S., but only a handful of permanent jobs in Canada. Meanwhile, new research showed that the Alberta government is set to fall even farther behind its target of refining 72 per cent of bitumen in the province, with a predicted drop to only 50 per cent by 2017. For more information, see AFL September 22nd press release and July 19th press release ...
Flood of TFWs heading to Alberta, but government still failing to protect them
- Alberta is bracing for a new influx of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), but little is being done to make their workplaces safe. A court case against companies charged in the death of two Chinese TFWs in 2007 has been delayed for another year, meaning important lessons on how to keep workers safe will also be delayed. Meanwhile, AFL research revealed that there could soon be 100,000 TFWs in Alberta, but the government has failed to take any concrete action to fix the flawed program that has seen so many workers abused. For more information, see AFL September 16th press release and July 28th press release.
Alberta government fails to enforce safety rules at construction sites
- A CBC investigation showed that provincial safety rules were routinely being ignored on residential construction sites, putting the lives of workers at risk, but the government failed to response to calls from the labour movement for a more rigorous system of random inspections. Instead, the government ordered a one-time blitz of construction worksites – but undermined its effectiveness by warning employers when inspectors would be visiting. For more information, go to September 23rd CBC story and AFL September 12th press release.
- Labour Code: Tell Redford to scrap the review! A review of the Labour Code launched by the Employment Minister is full of union-busting proposals. We need all affiliates to let the government know what they think of these ideas, but time is running out so submissions must be made NOW! For more information on the review and the AFL's reaction, see the top LabourBytes news story. For more info ... (AFL letter to affiliates (October 5th) and the Joint Statement from the Executive Council, September 28th
- October 10: Thanksgiving
- October 10: World Mental Health Day
- October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
- October 18: Persons Day, commemorating the anniversary of the 1929 ruling that declared women to be persons in Canada
- October 21/22: Facilitators Re-facilitators Conference
- October 24-28: CUPW National Convention
- October 25-27: UNA AGM
- October 27-28: HSAA Labour Relations Conference
- October 31-November 4: CUPE National Convention
- November 4-6: 45th Annual Alberta NDP Convention
- November 11: Remembrance Day
- November 16: International Day of Tolerance
- November 18-20: Parkland Institute 15th Annual Fall Conference
- November 25: International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women
- December 4: AFL Women's Committee December 6th Commemorative Brunch and Morning of Solidarity
Did you know ...
- The Alberta government has set a target of upgrading 72 per cent of our bitumen in the province.
- Currently, only 61 per cent is being upgraded in Alberta and the government predicts that figure will fall to 50 per cent by 2017.
- Various studies show that the Keystone XL pipeline will create between 99,000 and 550,000 jobs in the U.S., but only about a dozen permanent jobs in Canada.
- Alberta has 45,578 barrels of proven oil reserves per person living in the province, more than Saudi Arabia (10,125), Iran (1,766), Iraq (3,782) and Kuwait (40,067).
- The value of Alberta's oil sands is estimated to be $1.41 trillion.
July 2011: Tories give billions of dollars and thousands of jobs away; Alberta Dubai of the North; ethical shopping website; CETA
Alberta Tories give away billions of dollars and thousands of jobs
- The Alberta Progressive Conservative government's management of the energy industry and provincial finances has come under fire from the AFL. Firstly, the AFL showed that the current government gave $2.9 billion to oil and gas companies in a failed scheme to boost employment, while a $100-million education shortfall was allowed to cause more than 1,000 teachers and support staff in the province to be cut for K-12 schools. Secondly, more AFL research revealed that Premier Ed Stelmach is failing on his promise to upgrade more raw bitumen in this province, which will allow thousands of good jobs to be shipped down the pipeline to the U.S. For more ...
Alberta become Dubai of the north with 'guest worker' program
- New figures from the federal government reveal that Alberta employers are using to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program to fill jobs while long unemployment lines continue to plague other parts of Canada. "While unemployment is in the double digits in other parts of Canada, and more than 25 per cent for young workers in some provinces, it's becoming increasingly apparent that the TFW program is becoming the first choice for many employers rather than a tool of last resort, especially here in Alberta," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. For more ...
Ethical shopping website launched for Albertans
- Want to be a consumer with a conscience but don't know where to shop? The Alberta Federation of Labour and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 have launched a website for discussion on shopping ethically and to provide the information you need to make more ethical shopping decisions. For more information ...
Join the fight to stop the Canada-European Union trade deal
- Negotiators for the Canadian government and the European Union are working on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) - a deal which could cost Canadians $2.8 billion in prescription drug costs, lead to the privatization of public services and weaken democracy by transferring decision making from local governments in Canada to multinational corporations. Municipal governments are being kept in the dark on these negotiations, but you can fight back and get your local councils involved. For more information ... Watch these videos on the dangers of the CETA deal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQPh_YSnkVI and http://vimeo.com/26354593
- Please shop at these two Sobeys - We are STRONGLY encouraging consumers to shop at two Sobeys stores. They are Rosslyn Sobeys in North Edmonton and Forest Lawn Sobeys in Southeast Calgary. No other Sobeys stores are currently recommended as they have not met ethical standards. For more ...
- August 8-12: AFL Kids Camp
- August 9: International Day of the World's Indigenous People
- August 12: International Youth Day
- September 4: Calgary Pride Parade
- September 5: Labour Day, CDLC and EDLC Labour Day BBQs
- September 8: International Literacy Day
- September 15: International Democracy Day
- September 16: International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer
- September 21: International Day of Peace
Did you know ...
- Municipal services, public utilities and prescription drug costs are among the things at stake in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
- An Environics Poll shows that 81 per cent of Canadians trust the public sector more than the private sector to provide drinking water treatment and delivery
- Canadian municipalities could lose Canada-only tendering rights and local-preference policies
- EU demands could mean $2.8 billion in increase prescription drug costs for Canadians
June 2011: Join Together Alberta campaign; minimum wage; AB govt code of silence; workers at risk in AB
Join Together Alberta launches campaign to save education, health and social services
- Alberta is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world, and yet up to 1,200 teachers and hundreds of school support staff facing layoffs. Meanwhile, post-secondary education and social services are also facing funding cutbacks. The math just doesn't add up – and that's because Alberta's revenue system is broken. Join Together Alberta, a coalition of community groups, social-services agencies and unions has launched a campaign to reform the province's revenue system – and save our services. For AFL Release, Our Alberta Declaration, Town Hall Tour List and http://www.jointogetheralberta.ca/
AFL pushes minister to raise minimum wage
- After two years with minimum-wage levels stuck at $8:80 per hour, and a concerted AFL campaign to push for more, Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk finally announced an increase was coming. Unfortunately, he introduced a two-tier system - with liquor servers who earn tips getting a lower rate than other workers. In a 'mean-spirited' move, the minister revealed that workers would have to wait three more months for the raises to kick in. For more and "Message to Minister Lukaszuk" release
Alberta government's code of silence exposed
- Edmonton Journal writer Sheila Pratt revealed the code of silence that the government of Alberta attempts to impose on critics. She quoted AFL president Gil McGowan: "So the message has been crystal clear – toe the line and you get access. Refuse to play along and you get added to the long list of Albertans who are excluded." Want an example of how Alberta politics works? Pratt says doctors who wanted to improve health care in ways at odds with government policies were told "if you go public, you won't get anywhere." For more information and for Edmonton Journal story
Government continues to put Alberta workers at risk
- An Edmonton murder trial heard that workplace health-and-safety problems played a role in the slaying of the accused's wife, but when called upon to investigate, the Ministry of Employment and Immigration's initial response was to say it could do nothing because a complaint had not been filed. It was only after media reaction that minister Thomas Lukaszuk ordered his investigators to take action. "The government's complaints-driven process is a failure," says AFL president Gil McGowan. "The only way to keep workplaces safe is for a proactive campaign of vigorous and frequent random inspection by inspectors with real powers to punish violators. Instead, this government chooses to wait for complaints to be filed and reacts to them – literally waiting until people are hurt before taking action." For more information ...
- Support your postie – by dancing! - The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has filed strike notice and its members may stop work as early as Thursday, June 2. They are fighting against proposed cuts in wages and benefits and for safer working conditions and an improved public postal service. Whether or not a walkout has begun, show your support for your local posties by going to a public rally/dance in Edmonton at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 3. For more Stay tuned for updates in the coming days and weeks at www.afl.org, www.cupw.ca, www.cupwedm.net and www.cupwcalgary.org
- Five reasons to support postal workers – and how:
- June 2-3: HSAA Annual General Meeting
- June 4: International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
- June 5: World Environment Day
- June 6: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Red Deer
- June 7: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Medicine Hat
- June 9: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Grande Prairie
- June 11: Edmonton Pride Parade
- June 15: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Calgary
- June 16: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Lethbridge
- June 20: World Refugee Day
- June 21: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Fort McMurray
- June 21-22: AFL Executive Committee and Council Meetings
- June 23: Join Together Alberta Town Hall, Edmonton
- June 27: AFL Joint Standing Committee Meeting: Education, Human Rights & Int'l. Solidarity, Pride and Solidarity, Workers of Colour and Aboriginal Workers, Political Action
- June 28: AFL Joint Standing Committee Meeting: Environment, Health and Safety, Women, Young Workers
- July 1: Canada Day
- July 3: International Day of Co-operatives
- July 11: World Population Day
Did you know ...
- Corporate profits in Alberta are up 400 per cent
- The provincial economy is 75-per-cent larger than the national average
- The provincial government has missed its targets on collecting royalties from oil and gas companies, missing out on about $37 billion in revenue
- Corporate tax cuts are costing the Alberta government about $1 billion per year
- Alberta has no public debt
- Alberta's spending on social services is barely keeping up with population growth
- Provincial spending is declining as a share of the total economy