It’s been another feisty year for Unifor in the western region of Canada, chocked full of bargaining gains and grassroots mobilization.
Our member mobilization has been on both sides of institutional power. In Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, Unifor led the fight back against right-wing governments stuck in the outdated mentality of austerity and trickle-down economics.
Yet in Alberta, our grassroots work has focused on building support and strength for a bold NDP government that puts working people first. Shifting from a conservative 40-year legacy will not happen overnight, and Unifor members have been working with the government to introduce a nation-leading Climate Action Plan and historic updates to workplace rights in labour law.
Our struggle is very different in the Prairie provinces, where public sector service cuts and privatization are more common. In Saskatchewan, for example, we have waged a very effective campaign to protect the province’s myriad of Crown corporations from being sold off to the private sector. Keeping Crowns public both protects good jobs but also maintains key infrastructure and services in public hands.
In Manitoba, a part-time premier who spends half of his days in Costa Rica has targeted the province’s most vulnerable workers by taking away certain rights to form a union. Unifor is taking the lead in a fight back that involves building capacity and helping re-build the opposition.
On the West Coast, Unifor went all-in on the election campaign to end the 16-year dynasty of the right-wing BC Liberal Party. Unifor’s activists ran a strategic campaign that targeted swing ridings and we played a critical role in replacing the Christy Clark government with the NDP’s John Horgan.