Union retirees join calls for changes to Alberta’s workplace laws

The Alberta Federation of Union Retirees (AFUR) is kicking off a post-card campaign in an effort to convince the provincial Minister of Labour to make long overdue changes to the province’s labour laws. It is launching its campaign at the Convention of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which is being held at the Northlands Expo Centre in Edmonton from April 27 to 30.

AFUR meeting with Alta labour minister Christina Gray

AFUR meets with Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray at the AFL convention. Left to right, Edmonton President Judy Lederer, Calgary President Collin Anderson, AFUR VP Beryl Scott, Minister Gray, AFUR President Lucien Royer.

In a brief to the government’s Workplace Legislation Review Committee, AFUR argues that labour laws should enable unions to protect incomes and benefits they have won for workers during both their employment and retirement years. The brief contends that current labour laws do the opposite, and have led to a situation where a growing number of workers reach the age of retirement without adequate incomes or protection for health and social needs.

According to AFUR President Lucien Royer, economic discrimination, poverty, and homelessness amongst Alberta seniors are on the rise, in part because of deficiencies in our collective bargaining and employment standards laws. He applauds plans announced by the AFL to organize an educational and political campaign to engage MLA’s in a dialogue about changes to address these issues.

AFUR has prepared post cards that workers can use to send a message directly to Minister of Labour Christina Gray, which recommend changes such as access to workplaces for organizers, card-check certification, first contract legislation, prohibition on scabs, picket line rights, an end to spin-off and double-breasting by construction companies, and pay equity. The card also calls for conformity to standards established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“Please do not disappoint us”, Royer urges. “Even though AFUR members heralded the election of the NDP government, and welcomed the positive changes it promised during its campaign, we nonetheless believe it necessary to join the thousands of Albertan trade unionists, activists and workers demanding change.

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