Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk in the Rotunda of the Alberta Legislature. Note, in the background at left, Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith. Below, a recent Twitter message from Mr. Lukaszuk, an inveterate and confrontational Tweeter, who thinks your free speech rights are a matter of LOL and #wink.
Last weekend, Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk was in Edmonton’s Churchill Square enthusiastically demanding free speech and recognition of other fundamental rights for citizens of Ukraine.
Premier Alison Redford’s second in command told his listeners he recalled being in Kiev in 2004, observing the Orange Revolution: “Never again should there (Read more…)
AUPE President Guy Smith, left, with Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson on the steps of the Alberta Legislature last night. Below: Part of the crowd … the pots and pans start to come out.
With blizzard conditions prevailing throughout most of Alberta today, it was still a surprise when the right-wing Wildrose Party issued a news release supporting the province’s largest union and promising if it is elected it will undo much of the damage done by the Redford Government’s unconstitutional Bills 45 and 46.
Talk about the proverbial strange political bedfellows!
There (Read more…)
More than 1,000 union members and their supporters gathered at the Alberta Legislature last night to continue protests against the Redford Government’s Bill 45, which as well as attacking unions assaults Albertans’ Charter-guaranteed right to free speech. Below: Unexpected speaker Joe Anglin; a red square from Quebec. Make it black, pin it on, leave it there till Redford’s gone!
Is it time to take our pots and pans into Alberta’s freezing streets?
Don’t laugh! This may be Alberta, but there’s a growing consensus across all parts of the political spectrum that the lying liars of the Redford Government have to (Read more…)
Whose House is it? In Alberta, not yours! Public service union members tried to enter the Alberta Legislature yesterday to protest Bills 45 and 46, and soon found the doors barred. Below: Some more of the 400 or so people who braved the coldest spot in Edmonton for an impromptu rally organized by public service workers yesterday.
Albertans got a first look at the Redford Government’s suspiciously timed public employee “restraint” legislation yesterday – which effectively bans meaningful collective bargaining in the public sector and allows the province to impose agreements by fiat.
Many of them, of course, won’t (Read more…)
The state of public service labour relations in Alberta, circa some time this afternoon. Premier Alison Redford, in black, is visible standing at right. Below: Alberta civil servants’ likely response to the government’s plan. Actual events in the near future may not appear exactly as illustrated, especially the part with all the gob hats. Below that nonsense: Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.
The Redford Government is expected to introduce legislation later today to impose a three-year wage freeze on public employees like the civil servants and health care workers who saved Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative Party from all-but-certain destruction (Read more…)
Perhaps you think that I’m being somewhat Pollyanna about the issue of corporate feudalism and its rise in both Canada and the US.
I’m not kidding. This is possibly the most serious issue facing Canadian workers in the last 100 years.
Just as the Temporary Foreign Worker program has served to undermine Canadian workers by supplanting them with people willing to work for much less money, the Unpaid Internship undermines students, educational institutions and workers even further. University student Samantha Bokma said she was surprised when her job with Tory MPP Rod Jackson ended suddenly in August — she had (Read more…)
Striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. Martin Luther King played an active role in their struggle. Below: Striking Fast food workers in New York in 2013; Dr. King addressing the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963; marchers on the National Mall in Washington.
With Labour Day 2013 almost upon them, the New York Times editorial board’s scribblers last week discovered a parallel between the strike by thousands of non-union fast-food workers who walked off the job Thursday in 60 cities across the United States and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (Read more…)
AUPE President Guy Smith in a characteristic pose.
Who leaked the Alberta government’s response to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees’ unfair labour practices complaint to an Edmonton Journal political reporter, and why?
This is an important question because at the time the leak took place, the government document questioning AUPE President Guy Smith’s personal honesty in harsh and colourful terms was being kept confidential by the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
This was done as a fairly routine part of the board’s effort to effect a settlement of AUPE’s complaint that the Alberta government had broken an agreement it made (Read more…)
The Alberta government bargaining team on their way to talks with the Alberta Teachers Association in their Model-T, coloured black. Actual Alberta labour relations specialists may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson and industrialist Henry Ford.
In Alberta, it appears you now have more power as the president of a neighbourhood community league than as a duly elected member of a school board!
With province-wide municipal elections scheduled to take place in October, that’s something would-be candidates for school trustee might want to think about.
Albertans had a small but significant demonstration of this axiom yesterday, (Read more…)
Wildcat strike scene, grabbed from AUPE’s website during the strike. Below: AUPE President Guy Smith, Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.
Advice to anyone who tries to negotiate a deal with Alison Redford, Thomas Lukaszuk or any member or official of their government: take witnesses with you, and make sure you also bring a tape recorder.
You might want to bring a piece of paper, a pen, a Bible and a notary public as well. One-on-one meetings ending in “handshake deals” with these people? I don’t think so!
In what surely is one of the most outrageous Alberta news stories of the (Read more…)
Canadian diplomats, as seen in the public’s imagination and doubtless as they will soon be portrayed by the Harper Government. Actual Canadian diplomats abroad do not appear quite as illustrated, even when dressed casually for picket line duty. Below: Gary Doer, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States; Treasury Board President Tony Clement.
The working stiffs of Canadian diplomacy, members of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, were walking a picket line in Washington, D.C., yesterday – which raised some eyebrows in the Imperial Capital and must have created some minor discomfort for the Canadian ambassador, a (Read more…)
“’Ave you got a leesence for your minkey?” An investigator for Elections Alberta pauses momentarily in his probe of political donations made to the Progressive Conservative Party by seeing-eye monkeys. If you don’t get it, I can’t help you. Actual Elections Alberta investigators by now have likely been transferred back to plain clothes. Below: Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, retired Chief Elections Officer O. Brian Fjeldheim and drugstore billionaire Daryl Katz.
In Alberta, lawbreakers must be punished, and they will be punished – unless, of course, they happen to be supporters of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party.
So, the government (Read more…)
The picket line during the five-day strike by Alberta Correctional Peace Officers, which ended last night. Below: Another scene from the strike; Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk; AUPE President Guy Smith.
Even without last night’s deal with the Alberta government, Alberta’s defiant jail guards would have been entitled to declare a victory in their illegal five-day wildcat strike.
And that was before the illegally striking guards reached the agreement to end their walkout largely on their terms.
The agreement came last night after negotiations between the government and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees – politely termed discussions to allow the (Read more…)
The scene on the darkened lane that runs past Edmonton’s giant new Remand Centre has resembled the set for an apocalyptic movie the past couple of nights, with striking jail guards’ huge-wheeled four-by-fours crowding the ditches, AUPE banners flapping in the dark and strikers gathered around burn barrels.
With Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk at the helm, the stalemate in Alberta’s provincial jails continued through the night with wildcatting Correctional Peace Officers still manning picket lines and the government making dubious claims guards were returning to work.
The dispute started months ago over occupational health and safety concerns about Edmonton’s just (Read more…)
Wildcatting Correctional Officers on the picket line at the Edmonton Remand Centre just before midnight last night, long after the government’s ultimatum ordering them back to work. Below: Trade unionists occupy an Alberta Labour Relations Board boardroom yesterday afternoon in support of the striking guards. Below that: Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk as he appeared during a post-news-conference visit last night to the Edmonton Beerfest.
“You know what a tense, sensitive and dangerous situation like an illegal strike at a prison needs? Thomas Lukaszuk.”
So Tweeted well-known Edmonton New Democrat Lou Arab yesterday, the self-described political geek, Internet junkie, father, (Read more…)
Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan, right, speaks to yesterday’s AFL news conference at the Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre. Your faithful blogger can be glimpsed at the far right. Beside him, the CBC’s Charles Rusnell. Below: Rusnell, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason.
Back in the summer of 2011, as Ed Stelmach’s reign as premier of Alberta ground toward its inevitable terminal moment, then-employment-minister Thomas Lukaszuk sent around a letter advising stakeholders he was about to commence a review of the Alberta Labour Code.
It had to be done, said the minister responsible for the province’s labour portfolio, “to ensure (Read more…)
“Post-secondary collective bargaining,” Alberta style. Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk and a post-secondary employer negotiator rig the deck, foreground, while a faculty association negotiators ponder what’s just happened. Actual Alberta bargaining teams may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Lukaszuk, former advanced ed minister Steve Khan.
As is well known, Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has sent a letter to the boards of all of Alberta post-secondary institutions instructing them on what their bargaining position and final wage offer must be in negotiations with their faculty associations and staff unions.
The position can be summed up in (Read more…) phrase, now frequently heard on college and university campuses throughout the province, “Zero, zero, zero.”
Oh, wait – and I mean that literally – after three years of nothing you can ask nicely for a 2-per-cent raise. If you’re lucky, and unlike Athabasca University your institution’s . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Has Alberta pioneered an unlegislated ban on collective bargaining?
Dr. Michael Giuffre jots down the Alberta Medical Association’s wish list before yesterday’s agreement with the provincial government. Actual AMA negotiators may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
It will take a while to sort out what really happened in yesterday’s deal between the Redford Government and Alberta’s doctors, but you can count on it there’s more there than meets the eye.
Premier Alison Redford, Health Minister Fred Horne and Alberta Medical Association President Dr. Michael Giuffre were all smiles at a news conference in Calgary yesterday afternoon where they (Read more…) the seven-year agreement that will run from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2018. The deal will give the physicians three years with no pay increase, followed by two years with 2.5-per-cent increases, then two years of cost of living adjustments.
This will allow the government . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Count on it: Alberta’s doctors got more than the government’s press release indicates
Neocon Icarus Tom Flanagan (appropriately covered, thank goodness) at right, falls to earth after flying too close to the sun. Preston Manning hovers nearby. The flameout of actual neoconservative avatars may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Health Minister Fred Horne, Education Minister Jeff Johnson, and retired judge John Z. Vertes, who are the people this post is really about.
Even word that Tom Flanagan, the Icarus of Canada’s neoconservative movement, had flown too close to the sun and was coming down to earth in flames was not enough to save Alberta’s crisis-prone Progressive Conservative government from more pain!
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Despite neocon flameout distraction, Redford Tory bumbling dominates Alberta news
The trading pit: Is this what Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson sees when he thinks of the Alberta Teachers Association? Actual Alberta schoolteachers may not be exactly as illustrated. Then again, these days … Below: Mr. Johnson and ATA President Carol Henderson.
OK, Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson’s bizarre attempt to bluff the province’s 35,000 unionized schoolteachers into signing a contract has failed. Now what?
One week ago, Mr. Johnson mailed the president of the Alberta Teachers Association and the Chair of the Alberta School Boards Association a rambling letter setting out the government’s latest bargaining demands in what’s turned
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Education minister’s bluff called by apoplectic schoolteachers! Now what?
An Alberta Teachers Association member gets ready to give an important lesson to the Redford Government. Alberta teachers may not be smiling quite as broadly as illustrated if the government imposes a contract on them by legislation. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson.
Trapped in a no-deficit, no-tax-increase cage of its own devising, with few ideas and a budget looming on March 7, the government of Premier Alison Redford has floated the idea of using legislation to impose a salary cap on Alberta’s teachers.
Education Minister Jeff Johnson has been shopping this brainstorm around to the province’s school boards to see
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford government floats risky scheme to impose contract on teachers
An Alberta Labour Relations Board official suddenly realizes how the world works, and immediately rules in favour of the employer. Application of the law in Alberta may be pretty much exactly as illustrated.
All but forgotten amidst the rejoicing about the tentative end of the National Hockey League lockout reached during the Feast of the Epiphany on Sunday was the truly remarkable epiphany that occurred to the Alberta Labour Relations Board at the beginning of this unusual hockey season.
This is a pity, because while the behaviour of the ALRB is well known and understood to we few who toil
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Eureka! Labour relations in Alberta explained by, of all things, NHL hockey!
Your blogger drops the puck at centre ice of Maple Leaf Gardens. Really! Below: The lost and lamented Seibu Prince Rabbits’ rabbit, before the team rabbitted in 2009. Below: The lamentable China Dragon’s logo. Really, people, who needs the NHL?
If later today or on the morrow the news from the National Hockey League and its locked out players is not good, I have four words for frustrated Canadian hockey fans: Asia Ice Hockey League.
You got the sickness? The Asia Ice Hockey League’s got the remedy!
After all, what most of us are missing in this awful season of
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Trivial pursuits: Still no NHL? The Asia Ice Hockey League awaits!