Thousands join AFL centennial celebration as Harper wages war on workers
EDMONTON, June 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Thousands of union members, supporters
and families from all over Alberta sent a message to political leaders
across the country today: We've been here for 100 years and we're here
"This amazing turnout today is a reminder of the power of unions - power
that is derived from its members," says Gil McGowan, president of the
Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which celebrated its centennial
with the Party of the Century at Fort Edmonton Park today (Saturday).
More than 3,000 people bought tickets to the park to join the
celebration, which included a bagpiper-led parade and activities for
families including kids' games, face-painting, pony races, sack races
and crafts. There was also a stellar lineup of musical performances
during the day, with concerts from artists including Maria Dunn,
Souljah Fyah, Audio/Rocketry, The Rault Brothers Band, Terry Morrison
and Notres Dames des Bananes.
"Workers are under attack on multiple fronts in Canada today, but unions
are ready, able and willing to put up a vigorous defence of all working
people, whether they are union members or not," says McGowan.
"For 100 years, the Alberta Federation of Labour has fought to build a
better life for working people and a better province. 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. Unions have led the
fight for fair wages, safe workplaces and an end to discrimination on
the basis of race, creed, gender and orientation," he says.
"But don't be fooled into thinking the struggle is over and the battle
has been won. Our hard-won victories can be taken away - and that's
exactly what the Harper government is trying to do. The Tories have
embarked on a low-wage agenda that aims to take money out of the
pockets of all working Canadians.
"Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program, Employment
Insurance (EI) rules and Old Age Security (OAS) are designed to make
Canadians work for less while corporations reap ever bigger profits.
It's unfair. It's un-Canadian. It's unacceptable," says McGowan.
"The Harper government is hell-bent on attacking unions in the same way
he is going after charities and environmental groups. Anyone who speaks
up, anyone who argues against Tory ideology has become a target. They
will be met with vigorous resistance. We've been here for 100 years -
and we're not going away now, when people need us."
SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (780) 218-9888