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Unifor will not attend Alberta government’s sham “consultation”

November 28, 2019 - 12:00 AM

November 29, 2019

EDMONTON –Unifor will not participate in a meeting hosted by Alberta’s deputy labour minster tomorrow, calling it a disingenuous attempt at consultation.

“If Jason Kenney thinks Unifor will legitimize this sham process, he is out of touch. His intentions are clear and we will not stand for any attempt to silence the independent voice of workers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

The invitation, made on short notice, is the first step in realizing a United Conservative Party (UCP) platform commitment to reduce the influence of the province’s unions. The invitation claims the UCP wants to bring ‘balance’ back to labour legislation.

“Silencing unions while giving employers and corporations a free pass will not bring 'balance.' This is a one-sided attack on the democratic voice of working people,” said Dias.

Unifor believes this is not a genuine attempt at meaningful consultation, but rather an attempt to interfere with the democratic decisions that union members make about how they spend dues.

Canada’s workers have the right to freely associate as members of a union, and those rights extend to the union’s freedom of expression. The rights of unions to bargain and advocate for their members, including engaging on politics, has long been recognized in Canadian law.

Unifor has written to Deputy Minister of Labour and Immigration Shawn McLeod, explaining that there is no justification for legislation to control the way that unions spend their money, and such legislation would be a radical departure from Canadian law.

“Amendments to labour laws require thoughtful study, not a one-hour meeting. Unifor will fight any attempt by this government to gag unions or stop us from speaking out for workers’ rights,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Western Regional Director.

For media inquiries, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).