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
May 2011: AFL convention; lineup of star speakers at CLC convention; battle for workplace safety continues; workers warned about delayed retirement
AFL Convention a success: Read all about it!
- About 400 delegates and guests attended the AFL convention in Calgary for a packed schedule of events that included:
- A moving ceremony to mourn workers killed and injured on the job;
- A parade at Calgary International Airport in support of CAW workers negotiating a new contract;
- A rousing speech from the secretary treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO that prompted affiliates to donate more than $50,000 to the group's Defence Fund;
- An inspiring talk on how to organize campaigns by Harvard University Prof. Marshall Ganz, presented via Skype;
- A picnic in Eau Claire park to support a drive by workers to keep Calgary's parks public; and
- A rally before the federal election to remind voters of Harper's Broken Promises.
Lineup of star speakers at CLC convention
- Jack Layton, leader of the NDP and now head of Canada's Official Opposition, thrilled delegates at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention in Vancouver. He called for a united front in the drive to push for improving the Canada Pension Plan. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka brought a message of thanks for Canada's labour movement. "You were at our side in Wisconsin, in Indiana and Ohio when we called. You kept your promise of solidarity." Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) – the first woman to lead an international labour organization –came with a message of praise and encouragement. "You, your unions and your Canadian Labour Congress are a bright spot in a world where unions and workers are under attack."
Battle for workplace safety continues
- New figures revealed that the number of Alberta workers killed on the job last year soared by 24 per cent to 136. The AFL continues to pressure the Alberta government to take real action to improve workplace safety, calling for a range of measures including posting the full safety records of employers online, rather than the meaningless statistics now provided; increasing the province's dismal record for prosecuting employers whose unsafe worksites cause injury and death (the prosecution rate for workplace fatalities is 2.8 per cent); giving inspectors the power to issue tickets for violations during inspections; and introducing mandatory worksite health-and-safety committees that include workers. For release on murder trial worksite ...; for blitzes release ...; for forklifts release ...; Day of Mourning release ...
Workers warned about delayed retirement
- An Alberta government plan - revealed by Employment and Immigration Minster Thomas Lukaszuk - to encourage workers to delay retirement to deal with a looming labour shortage raised concerns in the labour movement. "If he's talking about forcing people to work past retirement age against their choice, then he's going to have a war on his hands," said AFL president Gil McGowan. "Working Albertans won't take kindly to having their retirement dreams undermined or taken away." For AFL press release ... and for government release ...
- Your help still needed at Gate Gourmet picket line - It's been a month since about 60 workers were locked out at Gate Gourmet's facility at Edmonton International Airport. The workers had been seeking only moderate increases – barely enough to keep pace with the rising cost of living and the soaring cost of gas needed to get to and from the worksite – but were given a final offer of a three-year wage freeze and a threat to close the facility. Join them on the picket line at Airport Road. For more info ...
- May 17: International Day against Homophobia
- May 21: International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
- May 25: Multi-cultural Luncheon (CUPE 1158), 10410 – 111 Ave., Edmonton
- May 30: World No-Tobacco Day
- June 4: International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
- June 5: World Environment Day
- June 11: Edmonton Pride Parade
- June 20: World Refugee Day
- June 21: National Aboriginal Day (click here for Edmonton events)
- June 27/28: AFL Standing Committees' Orientation and Meeting
Did You Know ...
- In 2008, there were 8.91 deaths per 100,000 workers in Alberta, compared to the national average of 7.14.
- In 1991, Alberta spent $11.14 per worker on health and safety programs. In 2009, it spent $10.13 per worker.
- In 2009, 620,000 Albertans (22 per cent of workforce) was employed in the top four most dangerous industries, compared to 341,000 workers (15 per cent of the workforce) in 1991.
- Between 2006 and 2009, there were 142 fatalities directly on worksite, but only four convictions – that's a 2.8-per-cent conviction rate.
April 2011: Widespread violations of child-labour laws revealed; government performance on oil sands shameful; fed Conservatives accused of hypocrisy in dealing with immigrants; Albertans...
Widespread violations of child-labour rules revealed in study
- Tens of thousands of adolescent Albertans are in the workforce – 21 per cent of them in illegal jobs, according to an Alberta Federation of Labour study. It found there were widespread violations of employment standards for adolescents and children in the province. For more information...
Government performance on oil sands shameful
- The Auditor General's report revealed the Progressive Conservative government has failed to institute a way of tracking its revenue from oil-sands operations, meaning it might have foregone billions of dollars in revenue. Meanwhile, Premier Stelmach and others in the government continue to act as pitch men for a pipeline company that wants to ship raw bitumen – and good jobs – out of the province. For more on AG press release ... and for Keystone XL release ...
Federal Conservatives accused of hypocrisy in dealing with immigrants
- The Conservative Party of Canada reaches out to immigrants Canadians with one hand, but crafts policies that punish them with the other. It has cut targets for real immigration, while increasing the number of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), who have little protection from abusive employers and recruitment agencies. New rules introduced this month will make it almost impossible for TFWs to even consider becoming citizens. For more information ...
Albertans warned to brace for Tea Party policies
- The infamous billionaire Koch brothers from Kansas – who have spent tens of millions of dollars funding climate-change deniers and the extreme right-wing Tea Party in the U.S. – have hired a lobbyist to push the Alberta government on taxation, economic development and energy and resource issues. Meanwhile, the AFL revealed that a provincial cabinet minister had links to an organization calling for restrictions to collective-bargaining rights in Alberta. For AFL press release ... and for the Edmonton Journal news item ...
Gate Gourmet locks out workers in Edmonton - About 60 workers at Gate Gourmet's facility at Edmonton International Airport have been locked out after rejecting a final offer from the company that included a three-year wage freeze. The employees, represented by UFCW 401, had been seeking only moderate increases that would barely allow them to keep up with the rising cost of living. Show your support by joining them on the picket line at Airport Road. For more ...
- April 28 - International Day of Mourning
- April 28 - May 1 – AFL Convention
- May 1 – May Day
- May 9-13 – CLC Convention
- May 17 - International Day Against Homophobia
- May 21 - International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
Did you know ...
- 8,200 Alberta children aged nine to 11 have jobs.
- 78 per cent of the jobs done by children are clearly illegal, including newspaper delivery and janitorial services.
- 26,000 adolescents, aged 12-14, work in Alberta.
- More than 21 per cent of working adolescents are employed in prohibited occupations, including janitorial services, sports teams and working on golf courses.
- 50 per cent of the jobs done by adolescents fall into the grey area of babysitting and yard work.
- The AFL study reveals that violations of child-labour laws included working too many hours, being paid less than minimum wage and working in prohibited jobs or performing prohibited tasks.
- The study also showed that parents did not fully understand their children's rights and had difficulty monitoring workplace conditions. For more ...
March 2011: Wisconsin protests; forklift safety; Alberta govt failing to collect billions; equality still a dream in Alberta; IAMAW 99 fight against CLAC
- From Wisconsin to Egypt, from Mexico to Canada, the rights of workers are under attack. The right of public-sector unionized workers to bargain collectively has been taken away in Wisconsin and similar moves are planned in other states south of the border. Meanwhile, the billionaire Koch brothers, who have funded this anti-union, anti middle-class campaign, have been revealed to have significant business interests in Alberta. They may be giving money to right-wing parties here! For more information ... and AFL video ... For the AFL Workers' Rights page ... To stay informed, follow us on Twitter and connect with us on Facebook.
- It's been a century since International Women's Day was launched, but Alberta women still earn, on average, only 72 cents for every dollar a man earns. Alberta is the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not give women and official voice to bring focus to this important issue and help to end the unfairness. The AFL is working to change this by aggressively lobbying MLAs. For more information ... and see also ...
AFL - making workplaces safer
- Campaigns by the AFL on workplace safety have resulted in positive moves by the Alberta government, which announced it would be hiring more inspectors and that it would initiate a forklift-safety blitz. However, the government's actions fell far short of what is needed to keep Alberta workers safe, so the AFL pressure continues. For more information ... and for recent release on forklift safety ...
Government pleads poverty while failing to collect billions
- The Alberta government released a budget inspired by the Wildrose Alliance, one that continued the starvation diet for Alberta's valued public services and included no plan to shore up the province's flagging revenues. Meanwhile, a coalition of unions called on the Auditor General to investigate why the government was failing to collect billions of dollars every year, by not meeting its own targets for revenue from oil and gas operations. For more information ... and for the release on the Auditor General's report ...
- Join the fight against CLAC! - IAM Local Lodge 99 is locked in a runoff battle with CLAC to represent hundreds of workers at OEM Remanufacturing in Edmonton, an engine and powertrain component remanufacturing company, serving the railway, natural gas and diesel sectors. IAM has been fighting for nearly seven years to represent these workers, but victory is in sight. The Alberta Labour Relations Board has ruled that the OEM workers have the right to choose their own union, and IAM has a short time to campaign for votes. But they need your help. For details ... Also go to www.oem99.ca
- March 22 - World Water Day
- March 26 - Friends of Medicare health-care rally at the Legislature (www. friendsofmedicare.org)
- March 31 - CUPE Alberta convention, Grande Prairie
- March 31 - Public Interest Alberta Annual Advocacy Conference
- April 2 - 27th Annual Labour Appreciation Night
- April 28-May 1 - AFL Convention
Did you know ...
- That some CLAC contracts say no union activity is allowed at the workplace during working hours "except that which is necessary for the processing of grievances and enforcement" of the collective agreement.
- That some CLAC contracts allow for only four hours' notice of layoffs, or say that no notice is required for layoffs due to equipment failure, material shortage or "other reasons."
- That some CLAC contracts stipulate that, in the event of it and the employer failing to resolve a matter of contention, "it agrees that the decisive word resides with management."
- That some CLAC contracts "will not permit or encourage any cessation of work, strike, slowdown or otherwise restrict or interfere with the employer's operation." For more information ... and go to www.oem99.ca
February 2011: Operation Hockey; Farm deaths spur calls to change work-safety laws; fight for REAL pension reform continues; Athabasca Univ Pension Course
- Union members, human-rights activists and members of the Lubicon Cree took to the ice at the newly opened hockey rink in Little Buffalo at the weekend. The rink was built by donations and volunteer labour in a campaign called Operation Hockey led by the AFL Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee. For YouTube video ... and for Edmonton Journal article by Christina Doktor ...
Farm deaths spur calls for minister to change work-safety laws
- The recent death of three more Alberta farm workers led to several calls for the Alberta Employment Minister to extend health and safety laws to include farms and ranches. Letters urging swift action were sent by the AFL, NDP MLA Rachel Notley, the Alberta Liberals and by Wayne Hanley, national president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada. For more information ...
The fight for REAL pension reform continues
- The AFL called on the Alberta government to reverse its opposition to increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits now that Ted Morton has resigned from cabinet, after a new poll showed Albertans are still in favour, by a two-to-one margin. Meanwhile, the Canadian Labour Congress filed an Access to Information request to find out who lobbied against proposals for improving CPP. For more information and for the CLC release ...
Learn how to protect your pensions
- Union members interested in pension issues have a new opportunity to learn about these issues and to prepare themselves for a role in pension governance. Athabasca University is offering a course that exposes students to the fundamentals of pensions. The course can be taken from home by anyone who wants to know more about how our retirement income system works. It is ideal for people who sit as union-appointed trustees on pension boards or are thinking of doing so, but will also be of interest to people new to pension issues. For more information ...
Register NOW for the EDLC School - You have until Friday, February 18, to register for the Edmonton and District Labour Council School, which takes place February 25-27. For details or to register or go to the EDLC website.
- February 17 - Parkland Institute Annual Fundraising Gala
- February 18 - Deadline 2011 Edmonton and District Labour Council School (www.edlc.ca)
- February 20 - UN World Day of Social Justice
- February 21 - Alberta Family Day
- February 25 - Deadline for nominations for 2011 AFL May Day Solidarity Award
- February 25-26 - 2011 AFL Equity Conference, Calgary
- February 25-27 - 2011 EDLC School (www.edlc.ca)
Did you know ...
- 1899: The Lubicon Cree are bypassed by Treaty 8 negotiators, so do not receive treaty benefits and a reserve has never been established.
- 1986: Inquiry Judge Davie Fulton files a report that supports the Lubicon. The Alberta government refuses to discuss his recommendations and he is fired by the federal government.
- 1990: The United Nations finds Canada in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights over its treatment of the Lubicon people.
- 2005: The United Nations urges Canadian government to resume negotiations with Lubicon.
- 2007: UN Rapporteur on Housing visits the Lubicon community and witnesses families without access to potable water and poor sanitation conditions, The Rapporteur called for a moratorium on oil and extraction activities until a settlement is reached.
January 2011: CEP welcomes new members; New Union Magazine; Victory for IAMAW Lodge 99; NUPGE/CLC commit to examine raiding issue
- There were 226 reasons that the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada was celebrating on New Year's Day. That's the number of new members it has, after the Alberta Labour Board confirmed on January 1 that Bee Clean workers at Suncor in Fort McMurray had voted to join CEP Local 707. For more information ...
- Twenty years of bad decisions on tax and royalty policy by successive Conservative governments have left our province's vital public services extremely vulnerable to under-funding. But our broken revenue system can be fixed. That's the theme of the latest edition of Union magazine. Read the online version of the magazine. Get a free subscription to the print version
Victory for the Fighting 99
- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 99, has won a battle at the Labour Relations Board. The case was about the employer, Finning, creating a subsidiary, OEM, and inviting the employees to join the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC). The Labour Board decided that this was unfair and that there needed to be an opportunity for the Machinists to keep the group. Over the next few months a run-off against CLAC will occur. For more information...
NUPGE and CLC commit to examine raiding issue
- The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) have agreed to continue working together on the issue of raiding. A statement from NUPGE said: "We commend the leadership of CLC affiliates for the commitment they have made to find a resolution to a practice that destroys labour unity." For more information ...
Hockey Day in Little Buffalo
- The federal and provincial governments have dropped the ball when it comes to dealing fairly with the Lubicon Cree. Now it's time for us to drop the puck - at the new hockey rink in Little Buffalo. The AFL Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee's Operation Hockey has raised funds to build a rink to benefit the Lubicon Cree youth. The rink opens with a big match on February 6th. To join in the celebration, contact the AFL at 780-483-3021 or email email@example.com. For more information on the Lubicon Cree issue ...
February 4 - Deadline for nominations for 2011 AFL International Women's Day Award
February 6 - Hockey rink opens in Little Buffalo as part of AFL's Project Hockey to benefit the Lubicon Cree youth
February 11 - Deadline to register for AFL Equity Conference (February 25 and 26). Note: Room block cut-off date is January 26; registration deadline is February 11.
February 18 - Deadline to register for 2011 Edmonton and District Labour Council School (www.edlc.ca)
February 20 - UN World Day of Social Justice
February 21 - Alberta Family Day
February 25 - Deadline for nominations for 2011 AFL May Day Solidarity Award
February 25-27 - 2011 Edmonton and District Labour Council School (www.edlc.ca)
Did you know ...
• More than half the cost of natural gas used by oil sands extractors is paid for by taxpayers, according to thetyee.ca.
• 88 per cent of Albertans didn't think we were getting our fair share of revenue from the oil industry, according to a Calgary Herald/Edmonton Journal poll in 2007.
• 58 per cent of Albertans (including two-thirds of Progressive Conservative Party supporters) were opposed to the March 2010 cuts in royalty rates, according to the Calgary Herald.
• The Alberta government aims to capture 50-75 per cent of the oil industry's financial surplus, or "rent," but has failed to capture even the minimum amount almost every year in the last decade.
• Corporate profits in Alberta have soared in the last two decades from $3,635 per capita in 1989 to $15,050 in 2008 (adjusted for inflation).
• Since 2001, Alberta has cut its corporate tax rate to 10 per cent from 15.5 per cent, making the lowest in Canada and depriving the Alberta treasury of $1.1 billion annually.
For more information ...