Alberta labour movement celebrates 100 years

The Alberta Federation of Labour celebrated a milestone Saturday.

The AFL is marking its 100th birthday by throwing a party at Fort Edmonton Park.

A small group of railway workers and trades people formed what was to become the modern-day AFL back in June of 1912.

President Gil McGowan says the group, which is made up of unions from both public and private sectors across the province, has been a pivotal support for Alberta's middle class.

"When we first got together those long years ago there was no minimum wage, there was no occupational health and safety rules. It was a hard time, wages were low, jobs were insecure and that was the big goal of the federation at that time, to bring some respect and dignity to the working people," McGowan said.

"Looking back over the hundred years we can say that our movement has been tremendously successful in bringing dignity and respect to working people."

The AFL said today's celebration was also a time to recommit to the labour movement.

McGowan said rights that have been won must be maintained and expanded.

"Many gains we've won can easily be lost," he said.

"We feel that there is a threat because we have governments that want to bring American-style anti-union labour laws north of the border. We have to commit ourselves to stop that from happening."

Many Edmontonians came out to celebrate 100 years of union victories in the province.

There was a parade, family-friendly activities and live musical performances.

The AFL represents more than 150,000 workers.

Centennial festivities run until 11:30 p.m. Saturday., Sat Jun 16 2012

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.