October 2011: Labour Code Review; Keystone XL pipeline; no protection for TFWs; safety on construction sites

Unions fight back against biased review of Labour Code

  • The Alberta government has embarked on a biased and secretive review of the province's Labour Code that threatens to introduce Tea Party inspired, Wisconsin-style changes to the rules governing workplaces. Affiliates of the AFL have united in their opposition to the union-busting and possibly illegal changes – and have warned the government to expect unprecedented labour unrest if it pushes ahead. For AFL September 28th press release; AFL August 26th press release; September 5th op-ed

Unions in bid to stop Canadian jobs being shipped down Keystone XL pipeline

  • While Alberta and Canada's political leaders acted like sales executives pitching TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S., it was left to unions to fight for Canadian jobs. The AFL and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) went to Ottawa to explain to MPs that the pipeline would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S., but only a handful of permanent jobs in Canada. Meanwhile, new research showed that the Alberta government is set to fall even farther behind its target of refining 72 per cent of bitumen in the province, with a predicted drop to only 50 per cent by 2017. For more information, see AFL September 22nd press release and July 19th press release ...

Flood of TFWs heading to Alberta, but government still failing to protect them

  • Alberta is bracing for a new influx of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), but little is being done to make their workplaces safe. A court case against companies charged in the death of two Chinese TFWs in 2007 has been delayed for another year, meaning important lessons on how to keep workers safe will also be delayed. Meanwhile, AFL research revealed that there could soon be 100,000 TFWs in Alberta, but the government has failed to take any concrete action to fix the flawed program that has seen so many workers abused. For more information, see AFL September 16th press release and July 28th press release.

Alberta government fails to enforce safety rules at construction sites

  • A CBC investigation showed that provincial safety rules were routinely being ignored on residential construction sites, putting the lives of workers at risk, but the government failed to response to calls from the labour movement for a more rigorous system of random inspections. Instead, the government ordered a one-time blitz of construction worksites – but undermined its effectiveness by warning employers when inspectors would be visiting. For more information, go to September 23rd CBC story and AFL September 12th press release.

Urgent Action

  • Labour Code: Tell Redford to scrap the review! A review of the Labour Code launched by the Employment Minister is full of union-busting proposals. We need all affiliates to let the government know what they think of these ideas, but time is running out so submissions must be made NOW! For more information on the review and the AFL's reaction, see the top LabourBytes news story. For more info ... (AFL letter to affiliates (October 5th) and the Joint Statement from the Executive Council, September 28th


  • October 10: Thanksgiving
  • October 10: World Mental Health Day
  • October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
  • October 18: Persons Day, commemorating the anniversary of the 1929 ruling that declared women to be persons in Canada
  • October 21/22: Facilitators Re-facilitators Conference
  • October 24-28: CUPW National Convention
  • October 25-27: UNA AGM
  • October 27-28: HSAA Labour Relations Conference
  • October 31-November 4: CUPE National Convention
  • November 4-6: 45th Annual Alberta NDP Convention
  • November 11: Remembrance Day
  • November 16: International Day of Tolerance
  • November 18-20: Parkland Institute 15th Annual Fall Conference
  • November 25: International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • December 4: AFL Women's Committee December 6th Commemorative Brunch and Morning of Solidarity

Did you know ...

  •  The Alberta government has set a target of upgrading 72 per cent of our bitumen in the province.
  • Currently, only 61 per cent is being upgraded in Alberta and the government predicts that figure will fall to 50 per cent by 2017.
  • Various studies show that the Keystone XL pipeline will create between 99,000 and 550,000 jobs in the U.S., but only about a dozen permanent jobs in Canada.
  • Alberta has 45,578 barrels of proven oil reserves per person living in the province, more than Saudi Arabia (10,125), Iran (1,766), Iraq (3,782) and Kuwait (40,067).
  • The value of Alberta's oil sands is estimated to be $1.41 trillion.

For more information...

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