Public Sector Workers Targeted For Standing Up For Rights
EDMONTON, Nov. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - The Redford Government is trying to
stifle dissent by introducing stringent new anti-wildcat-strike
The Public Services Sector Continuation Act, or Bill 45, brings in
punitive measures against unions, workers or members of the public who
engage in or promote unsanctioned labour action. The bill broadly
expands the definition of what a strike is, and creates summary fines
of up to $1-million per day against public sector unions whose members
walk out on a wildcat strike.
"With this law, the Redford government is suggesting Albertans need to
be protected from public sector workers by fining them and jailing
them," Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. "This
government can't handle dissent, so they're targeting those who don't
agree with them."
In Alberta, more than 97 per cent of collective agreements are
negotiated without recourse to any labour disruption. In the provincial
public sector, where all workers are prohibited from striking, there
have only a handful of short-duration walkouts in the last decade.
"When corrections workers and health care workers took a day or two off
the job in the last couple of years, it's not been about wages. It's
been about public safety, safety on the job, and making sure there are
enough people to deliver health care services to Albertans," McGowan
said. "This isn't about public sector wages or budgets, it's about
The Bill, which was hurriedly introduced with no warning or consultation
from stakeholders, has raised concerns that it is not in keeping with
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Several rulings from the
Supreme Court of Canada have upheld the interpretation of Canadians'
right to assemble as including collective bargaining and job action.
"The people the Redford government wants to put in jail for the crime of
standing up for safety and the quality of public services are the same
people who she lauded as heroes for helping the province respond to the
floods in southern Alberta," McGowan said. "Six months ago, Redford
called them heroes, now they are being cast as villains."
For more information on these bills and on collective bargaining
download the AFL factsheets:
1) Breaking a promise and the law - rollbacks
2) Breaking a promise and breaking the law supreme court
3) Alberta economy booming
4) Breaking a promise and breaking the law - public sector wages
5) Breaking a promise and the law - public service stretched
6) Alberta has a revenue problem
SOURCE: Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)