May 2013: Alberta embracing The Better Way Campaign; 19th Annual Kids' Camp; AFL wins battle in fight against exploitation of Temporary Foreign Workers; Convention videos online at AFL Yo...

Urgent Action: Alberta embracing The Better Way Campaign

Since April 1, moviegoers all over Alberta have been getting a message on the Better Way Alberta campaign. The message, in which Albertans are "thanked" for giving away their oil and gas so cheaply, has been shown before every movie on 188 screens.

The Better Way Alberta campaign is a collaboration between the AFL and several member unions including HSAA, UNA and CUPE. Advertising, media and our website all make the case for sensible budgeting that puts the best interest of people first, and includes research showing that royalties and taxes may need to be increased.

Check out the Better Way Alberta ad

Action Item: 19th Annual Kids' Camp

The AFL Kids' Camp is a five-day event that combines summer fun with educational activities.

The camp, which has been running for 19 years, has become a popular event on the AFL calendar. In 2013, the camp will be themed around the history of labour in Canada.

The camp is open to children of trade unionists belonging to unions affiliated to the Alberta Federation of Labour. Learning is combined with recreational activities such as canoeing, wall climbing, hiking, mine tour, rappelling, group challenges, crafts and swimming.

When: August 5 – 9, 2013

Where: Goldeye Centre near Nordegg on Goldeye Lake

Ages: 8 to 15 years

Forms package to be completed and mailed/faxed to the AFL offices by June 14, 2013

AFL wins battle in fight against exploitation of Temporary Foreign Workers

Recently announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program are a victory for Canadian labour rights.

The Federal government has eliminated the pay differential for TFWs, and indefinitely suspended the fast-track ALMO process for bringing in workers.

Although there is a lot of work left to be done in preventing employers from exploiting people coming to Canada for work, the Alberta Federation of Labour is proud that it has played a key role in bringing to light the ways in which the TFW program is being used to exploit workers and drive down wages.

"Exploitation is fundamentally unCanadian, that's why t this program doesn't sit well with Canadians," AFL president Gil McGowan said. "I'm proud of the work the AFL has done in investigating the TFW program, and proud as a Canadian that the public in this country won't stand for how this program is being used."

The AFL released the latest in a series of reports on the Temporary Foreign Worker program recently, showing that workers are being brought in regardless of prevailing economic conditions. During the recession, Alberta lost tens of thousands of jobs. Yet, employers brought in tens of thousands of Temporary Foreign Workers. In 2011, the economy recovered and began creating jobs. But there was a Temporary Foreign Worker present in Alberta for three of every four jobs created.

Read the complete report HERE.


Convention videos online at AFL Youtube channel

If you missed it the first time, you can watch highlights from Alberta Federation of Labour's 48th constitutional convention on the internet.

For the first time, the proceedings have been made available to watch at the federation's youtube channel ( Talks by speakers such as Allan Gregg, Jim Stanford, and Armine Yalnizyan have already been watched by hundreds of AFL affiliates and allies from as far away as California.

More than 7,000 people have already watched the videos, which were produced with the assistance of United Nurses videographer Jeremy Rittwage and the team from Listen Louder Productions. Videos that feature convention delegates being interviewed about what their unions mean to them are generating upwards of 300.

"There was a focused effort to make this convention relevant to people who couldn't be there in person," AFL president Gil McGowan said. "I'm proud to say that we accomplished that. The feedback from the videos has been extremely positive."

AFL offers solidarity to prison workers in struggle for workplace safety

The Alberta Federation of Labour has raised concerns about the province's handling of a four-day wildcat strike by unionized employees of Alberta's prison system. The four-day strike was sparked by the government's refusal to address health and safety concerns at the new Remand Centre in Edmonton.

After the strike, the government has imposed fines of $450,000, and has sought to suspend the collection of union dues to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. Although the AUPE is not affiliated with the AFL, the government's draconian response has raised concern in the broader labour movement about the treatment workers can expect from the provincial Tories.

"Every crisis presents opportunities and this situation is no different. The government could have addressed the workers' legitimate safety concerns in a timely and balanced manner. This would have improved the important relationship between a government and these workers," AFL president Gil McGowan said. "But that opportunity has been squandered by threats, intimidation and now specter of punitive measures against the union. As a result, labour relations are worse now than they were before the strike."

Read coverage of the AFL's solidarity with the striking workers here.


Albertans are standing together for a BLOCK (the) PARTY rally from 12-2 p.m. on May 25th to create a block against the policies and recent budget cuts that negatively impact families, the most vulnerable, and all sectors in Alberta.

The rally will be held at 45th Avenue between Gateway Boulevard and Calgary Trail S, just north of the Radisson Hotel, where the Conservative Party will be holding their policy convention.

Come together with other Albertans by the busloads and help us remind our leaders that there is a Better Way!

Did you know ...

• In 2007, Alberta's Royalty Review panel ruled that the province's rate of 58% for natural gas was too low. Today, the rate is 34%.

• Royalty giveaways since 2009 have cost Albertans at least $4.7 billion.

• Three of every four new jobs created in Alberta since 2010 have been filled by workers brought in under the Temporary Foreign Worker program.


• May 22: Shooting the Messenger: The Need for Effective Whistleblower Protection in Alberta, (Parkland) – 7:00 PM Telus Centre, Room 134 U of A (87th Avenue)

• May 23-26: Canadian Association of Labour Media conference (

• June 10-11: AFL Executive Council Retreat (Calgary)

• June 12: AFL Executive Council (Calgary)

• June 14: Deadline to register for AFL Kids Camp

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