Unions vow to fight Harper’s anti-worker agenda: Labour leaders from across Alberta condemn ‘one-sided’ back-to-work legislation

Alberta's labour leaders sent a strong message to the Harper government today, condemning the anti-worker agenda shown by back-to-work legislation in the Canada Post and Air Canada disputes.

"Rather than helping find a solution to disputes by acting as an independent umpire or counselor, this government has chosen to take sides and help the employers impose their will on working Canadians," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL).

He described the government's back-to-work legislation as heavy handed and one-sided attempts to undermine all working Canadians at the expense of employers.

Members of the AFL's executive committee, representing 145,000 private and public-sector workers from a range of unions, joined postal workers rallying at the Canada Post downtown plant at 9808 103A Avenue, Edmonton, today (Tuesday, June 21).

They issued a statement expressing their outrage at the attacks on workers.

"We are outraged on behalf of the members of CAW and CUPW whose rights and interests have been trampled upon," says the statement.

"We are outraged on behalf of all unionized Canadians who now know that the federal government is willing to use its considerable power not to provide a level playing field for negotiations, but to tip that playing field dramatically in favour of employers.

"Finally, we are outraged on behalf of all working Canadians – both union and non-union – because through its actions, the Harper government has made common cause with employers and employer groups that want to strip away and water down the hard-won wages and benefits that provide a foundation for Canada's increasingly precarious middle class."

The union leaders committed to exposing "the Harper government's new, unprecedented and dangerous approach to labour relations" and to fighting to protect the wages, benefits and conditions that help define and provide a foundation for the Canadian middle class," says the statement.

"From our perspective, the Harper agenda threatens the very fabric and foundations of the Canadian middle class. It parallels the attacks on public-sector unions in Wisconsin and other U.S. states, differing only in form, not substance – and it will not go unopposed in Alberta."

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CONTACT: Gil McGowan, AFL president, 780-218-9888.

Read the full statement by the AFL executive committee here. (Link to statement).

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