Labour groups take EPCOR to court

A trio of labour groups took EPCOR to court today to challenge the sale of the company's publicly owned power generation assets.

The Alberta Federation of Labour, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 30, and the Civic Service Union 52 took issue with the city's April 17 decision to spin off EPCOR's power-generating assets and sell them without first consulting Edmonton citizens.

"We believe city council acted illegally when they met behind closed doors to spin off EPCOR's power generating assets," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

McGowan said the city contravened sections of the Municipal Government Act that requires city council to make decisions in public forums and through motions or bylaws, and restricts council from delegating decision-making powers to whomever they choose.

The union groups are now asking the court to declare the multi-billion-dollar deal void and have it potentially overturned.

McGowan insists the case is not about jobs or union contracts but about protecting the democratic process.

"We obviously have problems with the whole idea of privatization, we don't support it. But the arguments we made in court were not so much about the merits of the decision but rather focused on the process that was followed."

EPCOR spokesman Tim LeRiche declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

"The arguments have been made," LeRiche said. "We'll just have to wait to see what the judge's ruling is."

Edmonton Sun, Fri Sept 11 2009
Byline: Clara Ho

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