Issue: CUPW members in Calgary and Edmonton area hit picket lines last night (Tuesday, June 7th) for a 24-hour strike
Actions Requested: Join the picket line until 9 p.m. in Calgary at 1100 - 49 Avenue, N.E.; join the picket line at the main plant in Edmonton at 12135 - 149 Street until 10 p.m. or at the downtown plant at 9808 - 103A Avenue until 9 p.m. Check your local Canada Post depots for picket lines.
Postal workers in the Calgary and Edmonton areas hit the picket lines last night in their fight for an improved public postal service, safer working conditions and fairness for all employees.
Now it's time to show your support for your local posties by joining them on the line.
In Calgary, go to the main plant at 1100 49 Avenue N.E., where picketing will continue until 9 p.m. today (Wednesday).
In Edmonton, there will be pickets at the main plant at 12135 - 149 Street until 10 p.m. There will be pickets at the downtown plant at 9808 - 103A Avenue until 9 p.m. There will also be pickets at other Canada Post depots, including those at St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Camrose, Wetaskiwin and Fort Saskatchewan.
Gord Fischer, National Director of the Prairie region for CUPW, explained the reason behind the union's choice for its Edmonton and Calgary locals to go out next.
"Canada Post is refusing to put proper staffing in place, leading to overwork and forced overtime," Fischer said. "Routes don't get covered and mail ends up sitting in the depots, leading to complaints about service."
"The union has clear demands about improving our service and making sure adequate staffing is in place. Canada Post wants us to do more with less, regardless of what that does to the public's postal service."
Canada Post continues to dismiss the union's demands that health and safety issues be addressed. It also will not acknowledge the postal workers' proposals for innovation and service expansion to keep the corporation profitable.
Wave of school layoffs prompts coalition to launch new province-wide campaign: Join Together Alberta calls on government to fix Alberta’s broken revenue system
EDMONTON – In the wake of reports warning that up to 1,200 Alberta teachers may be laid off in the next few months, a province-wide campaign is being launched to force the Conservative government to fix the real problems facing the province.
"We live in one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world and yet our education system is clearly in crisis," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, which represents 140,000 workers. "This situation is entirely unnecessary and has been created by Alberta's broken revenue system. We need to fix our revenue system to save our schools."
Sharon Armstrong, vice-president of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA), says: "In September, Alberta's school boards will be $100 million dollars short of the money they will need to maintain the quality of education that we enjoy today. Up to 1,200 teachers across the province will be looking for work this summer elsewhere, because their job in Alberta has disappeared. We appreciate the government's recent announcement of new schools, but the schools are useless unless we have the staff inside them to inspire our students."
The Join Together Alberta coalition - an alliance of community groups, social-services agencies and unions, including the AFL - has been reformed to put pressure on the government to fix the revenue problem so Albertans get the vital public services they demand and deserve.
"The real issue is that Alberta has been crippled by a decade of ill-conceived tax and royalty cuts. Alberta has an abundance of natural resources. There is no reason it can't afford stable funding," says McGowan.
The coalition will launch Phase 2 of its campaign in Edmonton tomorrow (Thursday) to demand the Alberta government fix its broken system for revenue generation. McGowan and Armstrong will be joined by people representing various sectors and unions fighting cuts who will be available to speak to media.
TIME: 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 26
LOCATION: River Valley Room, Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe, 10111 Bellamy Hill, Edmonton
CONTACTS: Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour, 780-218-9888
Issue: Postal Workers Need Your Help – TODAY!
Actions Requested: Support the CUPW picket line at 131 – 1 Herbert Road, St. Albert
When: April 13, 2011 – Immediately
Your help is urgently needed on a picket line at a Canada Post distribution centre in St. Albert, where members of Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) walked off the job yesterday.
The picket is being maintained 24 hours a day to prevent scabs from going to work at the installation, 131-1 Herbert Road, St. Albert (the southeast corner of the strip mall at St. Albert Trail and Herbert Road). Canada Post has had contractors nearby, and made attempts to bring them in to do the work of CUPW members. CUPW, members and supporters blocked the entrance to protect the work of the unionized rural and suburban mail carriers (RSMC) employees.
Letter carriers, MSCs and Canada Post customers are not being prevented from entering and leaving the site.
"Our members are furious over changes introduced without notice that could cost them thousands of dollars per year," says Bev Ray, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Local 730 in Edmonton.
The rural and suburban mail carriers were given letters by Canada Post yesterday saying that the number of parcels they delivered was being cut.
"There was no discussion with the carriers beforehand and no notice provided to the union. In fact, Canada Post said the new rules came into effect April 11, even though the letters weren't given to the RSMC employees until April 12," says Ray.
The carriers, who use their own vehicles and pay for their own insurance to deliver the mail, get paid per piece of mail delivered, so a cut in parcels means a cut in pay that could come to thousands of dollars per year.
"These workers have not had a pay increase for more than two years. To arbitrarily announce measures that will seriously cut their wages is an appalling and inconsiderate move by Canada Post management," says Ray.
About 15 rural and suburban mail carriers are affected at the St. Albert centre, but CUPW is concerned that similar measures are being planned at other Canada Post facilities across the country.
For information, contact: Bev Ray, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Local 730, 780-423-9000, ext. 223.
After years of effort by Alberta's labour movement, the Alberta Labour Relations Board ruled that IAM 99 had successorship rights to the workers at OEM and revoked CLAC's bargaining certificate. OEM workers will soon get a chance to choose in a runoff vote who represents them - a real union or CLAC.
IAM 99 would like you to join in its campaign to beat CLAC and win the runoff vote.
A big part of IAM 99's drive is a door-knocking campaign aimed at winning over the hearts and minds of OEM workers to ensure they vote for IAM 99 on June 1st, 2nd and 3rd. This door-knocking campaign is where you can help your fellow brothers and sisters win the vote over CLAC. IAM 99 will run two door-knocking training sessions on the 19th and 24th of March.
The training session on the March 19th will run from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and will include lunch. The training session on the March 24th will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and include pizza or subs. Door-knocking will run on March 25th and April 8th and 29th at 9:00 a.m. until about 4 p.m.
All of the above will commence at the IAM 99 Hall (#101, 10471 - 178 Street NW, Edmonton).
Jeff Sloychuk (Manager) 780-994-1088
Neil Rudiger (Local Lodge President) 780-919-0799
Jason Rockwell (Vice-President) 780-709-2204
Mike Brown (Secretary Treasurer) 780-935-8565
Kevin Clark (Business Representative) 780-235-5019
Join Santa Claus and Canada’s finance ministers in Calgary this Sunday, send Harper and Flaherty a message: AFL Action at Delta Calgary Airport Hotel 2:00 pm Sunday, December 19th
Canada's finance ministers are meeting in Calgary this Sunday at the Delta Calgary Airport hotel before they head to Kananaskis for their Monday meeting on pension reform. Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty has pulled a fast one by trying to take CPP expansion off the table at the last moment - a Christmas gift for the banks and insurance companies - but many provincial finance ministers are not happy. And neither is Santa Claus.
Santa Claus (aka Gil McGowan, AFL president) will be on hand at the airport to welcome them to Alberta. He will give presents to the provincial ministers who support CPP expansion, and a well deserved lump of coal to Flaherty and Morton. But what is Santa without his helpers? Please come out and help us greet the ministers in style! We will be meeting up in front of the Delta Calgary Airport Hotel at 2:00 pm Sunday, December 19th. We will have Santa hats for people to wear and Christmas cards for them to give out. Let's make sure the last message finance ministers get from the public before their meeting is in support of CPP expansion! If you can make it, please RSVP to Jerry Toews at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 780-483-3021.
Send Flaherty and Harper one last message:
The Canadian Labour Congress has asked us to forward the following appeal:
"Finance Minister Jim Flaherty appears to be softening his support for an expanded CPP in the lead up to the finance ministers meeting this weekend in Kananaskis.
We need your help. Forty years of a private sector voluntary solution have not worked - Canadians don't need the banks and financial industry getting another opportunity to gouge them out of their hard earned savings. Canadians need leadership from their government. I urge you to send one final message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, reminding them that they publicly supported an improved CPP. Tell them that we want to see action at Kananaskis and our plan to gradually double future CPP benefits is the best plan to help the majority of Canadians save for their retirement."
Experts gather to discuss how to solve Canada’s pension crisis: Edmonton summit to focus on finding real solutions
Edmonton - A crisis in retirement income is looming in Canada and Albertans will be among those hurt the most - unless there's real reform of the nation's pension system.
"Albertans have the lowest retirement savings in Canada," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL). "By 2030, 67 per cent of Albertans will not have enough for a dignified retirement. Currently, 31 per cent of Albertan seniors live on less than $16,000 per year today."
"Albertans are less likely to be covered by an employer pension plan than other Canadians - and those with pension coverage are likely to have inferior coverage compared to other Canadians. Only 38 per cent of Albertans contributed to an RRSP in 2008, and the median contribution was only $3,200 per year," he adds.
Because of the clear need for action on the pension crisis - and with Canada's finance ministers due to discuss pension reform in Kananaskis, Alberta, next month - the AFL and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) will hold a summit in Edmonton on Saturday, November 27th, and will bring in some of the country's leading pension experts to discuss pension reform. Participants in the summit, Pension Reform or Poverty: How to Solve Alberta's Retirement Crisis, include:
- Bernard Dussault, former chief actuary of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (1992-1998). He is the author of a bold proposal for a universal pension plan that has won national attention;
- Dr. Jonathan R. Kesselman, a professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy and Canada Research Chair in Public Finance. He is the author of a research paper released by the University of Calgary that has become extremely influential in the national pension reform debate;
- Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represents 140,000 workers. Earlier this month, the AFL launched a campaign for real pension reform, urging Alberta to abandon its opposition to CPP expansion;
- Hassan Yussuff, Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC, which represents 3.2 million workers. The CLC has led a national campaign to expand CPP;
- Paul Moist, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada's largest union with 600,000 members. He has led his union's campaign for solutions to the pension crisis.
Time: 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 27, 2010
Location: Grant MacEwan University, Main Floor Multi-purpose Room, 106th Street Building, 10700 - 104 Avenue, Edmonton
- 30 -
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour Cell 780-218-9888
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is fighting to save Canada Post jobs from being outsourced - and you can join that battle.
The Crown Corporation announced earlier this year that it would outsource its contact centres and the National Philatelic Centre, resulting in the elimination of more than 300 jobs across the country. The affected locations are in Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Antigonish and Fredericton.
Richard Deslauriers, the National President of PSAC component, the Union of Postal and Communications Employees (UPCE), said this move will bring Canada Post closer to a complete privatization.
"The privatization of Canada Post has always been an objective of the current management and the conservative federal government," Deslauriers said. "The slippery slope of partial privatization of services will end up with Canada Post in the hands of private companies and Canadians will be deprived of a service they have relied on for decades."
Robyn Benson, the PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the Prairies, said: "This obsession with privatization will badly damage the quality of the Canadian postal service as well as the communities it serves. Many regions in the country will lose local contact with Canada Post as well as jobs that are important for the local economy."
For Benson, the privatization of Canada Post's answering services also raises the question of protection of confidential information provided by Canadians.
"I'm not sure that Canadians are ready to see their postal service become an information collection agency for the American government,' Benson said. "If an American company answers calls for Canada Post, then the U.S. Patriot Act gives the government access to all information the company collects. Is that what Canadians want?"
You can help save jobs from being outsourced and save communities from suffering a drop in service. Please print this petition and get as many friends and colleagues to sign it, then return to the PSAC Edmonton office. The more voices that Canada Post hears, the more likely that privatization can be halted.
This fall, an advisory committee to the Minister of Health recommended that Alberta tear up its health care laws in favour of vague and unclear statements of "principles" and "guidelines."
Minister of Health Gene Zwozdesky is now considering those recommendations. The Friends of Medicare is urging all Albertans to send the Minister a message: Don't Tear Up the Laws!
Alberta's existing health care laws put us on stable ground.
Our current laws provide protections against U.S.-style private insurance, extra billing by doctors, two-tier health care and queue jumping, and private hospitals.
It is noteworthy that these protections are not contained in the Canada Health Act - they are the responsibility of the provinces. And it is these laws that Alberta is proposing to change.
Scrapping our existing health-care laws is a dangerous path for any health minister, given the way the Minister's Advisory Committee is proposing that new laws be written. The Advisory Committee has proposed that new laws put most of the details into regulation - structuring health-care laws as so-called "enabling legislation." This would put an enormous amount of power in the hands of the Health Minister.
Furthermore, it shields changes to the health-care system from public debate, as changes do not have to go before the Legislature. If the Advisory Committee's changes are accepted, private insurance, private hospitals, or two-tier health care can be brought in with the stroke of a pen, and behind closed doors.
Improving our public health-care system doesn't involve tearing up the laws. We can save money, deliver better care, and preserve the system for the future with innovations like bringing down the price of pharmaceuticals, improving primary care, and investing in prevention and promotion.
Call, write (click here for sample letter), and e-mail Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky. Urge him to consider real and lasting improvements to the health-care system, by strengthening public medicare for all Albertans. Ask him to reject the Minister's Advisory Committee recommendation to tear up our health-care laws. And tell him that Albertans want their government to spend their time working on better public health care, not trying to invent new ways to privatize medicare behind closed doors.
To contact Minister Zwozdesky:
#208 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-3665
Fax: (780) 415-0961
8207 Argyll Road
Canada T6C 4B2
Phone: (780) 466-3737
Fax: (780) 468-3359
After nearly eight weeks walking the line, strikers remain as strong as ever at McKesson Canada facilities in Edmonton. Now it's time to show them the strength of your support!
A picket line BBQ and rally will be held at the main warehouse at 10931 - 177 Street, starting at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 25. It's being organized by the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Edmonton and District Labour Council.
UFCW Local 401 - www.gounion.ca - members have been on strike since the final week of June to back up their demands for wage fairness, benefit improvements, as well as issues of dignity and respect. About 200 workers have been without a contract since the beginning of 2009.
McKesson Canada has warehouses across Canada. The Edmonton warehouse workers have by far the lowest wage rates compared with counterparts in Vancouver (Coquitlam), Calgary and Regina.
Join the AFL and EDLC in showing the strikers that we support their fight for fairness, dignity and respect. There's no better way to spend an August evening in Edmonton!
For latest bargaining updates, go to www.gounion.ca.
Applications are now being accepted for the second year of Next Up Alberta: A Leadership Program for Young People Committed to Social and Environmental Justice
The application process is now under way for a new cohort of Next Up participants. This is an amazing, intensive and transformative program for young social change activists between the ages of 18 and 32. This year we're excited to announce that the program will operate in three provinces: Next Up BC in Vancouver, Next Up Alberta in Edmonton and Next Up Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
In each province, 13 young people will be selected. Participants will develop life-long relationships, explore different leadership styles, meet some of the province's leading change-makers, learn new leadership and organizing skills, and be exposed to current and topical social justice issues and progressive governance.
The application deadline for Next Up Alberta is Tuesday, Sept. 14. The program runs between October 2010 and April 2011.
Please forward this call far and wide -- to individuals, organizations, institutions and your progressive networks, with a special focus on networks that will boost the diversity of the program). And pass it on to specific people for whom you think this is a great fit. Thank you in advance for helping us find the fabulous young leaders for Next Up 2010/11 - you'll be thankful you did years from now!
Application forms and more information can be found at: http://www.nextup.ca.
Next Up is a project of genius (the global youth education network society), in partnership with the Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance, The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Parkland Institute.
Aliya Jamal, Program Coordinator
Next Up Alberta
780-248-5846 (w) 780-691-3044 (c)