October 2009: Attacks on health care; EI failing working people in Alberta; Pension reform; Send Old Dutch a message

Wrong Way! Stelmach vows to proceed with attacks on health care ...

  • In his recent televised address to the province, Premier Ed Stelmach vowed to press on with plans for major changes in health care - but he declined to explain what those changes would involve. The AFL believes the government's "reform agenda" essentially boils down to privatization, lay-offs for health care workers and more downloading of costs onto patients and their families. That's why we're supporting the Friends of Medicare's "Wrong Way" campaign aimed at stopping yet another Conservative push to privatize our public health care system. Learn how you can help keep Medicare public!

EI fails working people - especially in Alberta

  • As the global recession drags on, more and more Canadians have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Unfortunately, the federal government's Employment Insurance (EI) program is failing to provide a safety net for many of those who have lost their jobs. In fact, a study released last month by the AFL shows that less than 40 per cent of unemployed workers in Alberta are eligible to receive EI benefits. Albertans have to work longer to receive fewer benefits than any other workers in the country - and the majority of Alberta's unemployed receive no EI benefits at all. For the publication ...

Alberta leading in the wrong direction on pension reform

  • The recession has proven that Canada desperately needs pension reform, but a proposal for a government-sponsored supplemental pension plan being floated by the Alberta and B.C. governments may actually make a bad situation worse. That was the conclusion of an actuarial analysis commissioned by the AFL and conducted by the Vancouver-based pension firm PBI. After crunching the numbers, the consultants found that the so-called ABC plan would, in most cases, generate only a paltry amount of income for pensioners. AFL president Gil McGowan warned that, in addition to being inadequate, the ABC plan would likely distract attention from discussion on more substantial proposals for reform. Read the full text of the analysis ...

Privatization by stealth

  • How would you like it if someone sold your property out from under you without even asking your opinion? That's exactly what happened when Edmonton City Council voted behind closed doors to sell large chunks of the power generation assets owned by the citizens of Edmonton through the City's utility company, Epcor. Now a majority on City Council has voted to bar the public from all future privatization decisions related to Epcor. Frustrated Edmontonians are encouraged to get involved with the new citizen's group, Our Power, which formed over the summer to demand that the public - as owners - be given the final say on all privatization debates. Our Power's latest effort is to get enough signatures on a petition to force a plebiscite on privatization during the next municipal election. Find out how you can get involved! For more information ...

Urgent Action

Send Old Dutch a message!
Workers at the Old Dutch potato chip plant in Calgary have now been locked out by their employer for more than 200 days - and winter is fast approaching.

Please remind all your locals, members, friends and family to stop buying Old Dutch products until the company agrees to the very basic contract provisions that the workers are asking for.

Also, please head down to the picket line and let the workers know that the rest of the labour movement is still behind them! The picket line is located at 3103 - 54 Avenue SE, Calgary.


Parkland Institute's 13th Annual Fall Conference
Crisis and Opportunity: It's Time for a Progressive Economy

November 20 - 21, 2009
University of Alberta, Edmonton

Last year Alberta was in a boom and then the world economy collapsed.
What happened?
What do we do now?
Information is shock resistance.

This conference is about providing the information and the ideas that can be used to promote a better future for the common good.

Did you know ...

Over the past ten months, unemployment in Alberta has more than doubled. No other province has seen a faster spike in joblessness.

Unemployed Albertans:

October 2008 - 78,300
August 2009 - 158,000

Unemployment by region (Sept 2009 vs. Sept 2008):

Edmonton Region: 7.7% vs. 3.7%
Calgary Region: 7% vs. 3.8%
Red Deer Region: 8% vs. 4.6%
Lethbridge-Medicine Hat: 7% vs. 3%
Grande Prairie Region: 9.1% vs. 5.1%

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