February 10, 2021
EDMONTON–Premier Jason Kenney’s recognition of frontline COVID heroes is too little, too late says Unifor, after the Alberta government announced it’s giving danger pay to essential workers, 11 months into the pandemic.
“After dragging his heels, Jason Kenney finally coughed up a long overdue one-time payment to frontline pandemic workers, the majority of which is funded by the federal government,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Yet as Kenney gives with one hand, he cuts jobs with the other. All while continuing to lower pay standards and attack workers’ rights.”
Today the Alberta government announced that approximately 380,000 public and private-sector workers will receive $1,200 each for working to deliver services for the duration of the COVID-19, as pandemic lockdowns are about to enter year two.
“Jason Kenney denied this money for months to workers who put themselves and their families at risk every day, hurting the GDP and costing jobs,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle.
Many of these essential workers, including frontline grocery store employees, are paid minimum or close to minimum wage, often in precarious work situations.
“While Kenney and the United Conservative Party government were shamed into making this payment, it’s clear they place no real value on these essential workers,” McGarrigle said.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
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