This election, workers demand better!
CALGARY - Working people are Alberta’s greatest resource – and, now that all the political players are in place, the concerns and issues of workers need to be the focus of all parties in the upcoming provincial election campaign.
That was the message from Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan as he launched the AFL’s new and ambitious pre-election campaign called “Workers Demand Better!”
“Workers provide the skills and labour that keep the wheels of our economy turning,” says McGowan. “Workers pay the taxes and provide the labour that keep our public services strong; and workers, as citizens, are the ones who knit our communities together and allow them to thrive. If the next election isn’t about workers, what is it really about?”
The “Workers Demand Better” campaign aims to force all political parties to stop talking endlessly about fights with Ottawa and the grievances of fringe extremists and, instead, focus on the issues that really matter to Alberta workers.
The list of worker priorities championed by the campaign will include: jobs and the economy, especially in the context of the unfolding global energy transition; inflation and the cost of living; quality public services, including health care and education; worker rights, including the freedom to join unions, bargain collectively and strike; and workplace health and safety in the context of COVID-19.
“It's time for workers in Alberta to get a better deal. We’re done waiting and hoping – we’re going to start demanding,” says McGowan.
“Specifically, with this campaign we’re demanding a real plan for good jobs in a changing economy. We’re demanding workplace rights and high-quality, reliable public services. We’re demanding fair wages that keep up with the cost of living. And we’re demanding that our leaders take the health and safety of workers seriously for a change, including in the context of the pandemic. We’re not going to be quiet or allow politicians to push us into the corner any longer. This election has to be about workers and their needs, not politicians and their spin.”
The ”Workers Demand Better” campaign will include digital, radio and TV ads, some of which McGowan previewed at the campaign launch event. There’s also a campaign website, WorkersDemandBetter.ca/join and plans for extensive on-the-ground mobilization of workers and supporters.
“Workers and unions in Ontario just demonstrated that they can win victories and set the agenda for important public conversations,” concluded McGowan. “We are determined to do the same here in Alberta in the lead up to the next election. We invite everyone who demands better for our province to join us, whether they’re a worker or not. As our Ontario counterparts reminded us: we’re stronger together and the people, united, will never be defeated. Our campaign is aimed at reminding workers of their power and encouraging them to use it to build a better province.”
Director of Organizing, AFL