The children of unionized Alberta public employees enjoy Christmas at home. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad had to be at work because the jobs they do are essential. Below: One of the great minds of the Alberta government scratches his head as he puzzles out the problem. (Edmonton Sun photo.)
The government of Alberta has “no idea” how many of its 22,000 civil servants will get paid days off at Christmas and New Year’s if the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees accepts its latest offer, a very senior official said yesterday.
The government’s latest contract proposal to the union includes (Read more…)
Members of the Alberta Government plan their latest strategy to hold the unionized civil service’s approximately 44,000 feet to the fire in negotiations. Actual government officials may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: William Aberhart.
Bargaining with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees at an impasse again, so the government of Premier Alison Redford has had the bright idea of breaking its own labour laws in desperate hopes of pressurizing AUPE members to push their union into agreeing to the latest employer offer.
This isn’t really the way labour relations are supposed to work in a society of laws, but (Read more…)
Some roles just don’t seem to be a good match for the same person. Here are five examples. Perhaps Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, below, finds himself in such a position?
Can Thomas Lukaszuk properly fulfill his dual roles as Alberta’s Minister of Labour and chair of the all-but-secret Public Sector Resource Committee of Premier Alison Redford’s cabinet?
On the face of it, it would seem not – but then, perhaps as Mr. Lukaszuk opined in an ill-tempered exchange on Twitter Saturday, your blogger just doesn’t understand the minister’s roles and responsibilities.
Still, layperson that I am, I really (Read more…)
Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, at right with Premier Alison Redford, argues with Deputy Premier Dave Hancock, in white suit and goofy glasses, about whether or not to appeal the court injunction against the use of Bill 46. Finance Minister Doug Horner is on the far left. Actual Alberta cabinet ministers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below right: Mr. Lukaszuk not exactly as he appears. Below left: Mr. Lukaszuk exactly as he appears.
In any normal business, Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk would be finished.
After the pummelling the government of Premier Alison Redford took on Friday from a (Read more…)
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith at the union’s news conference in Edmonton yesterday. Below: Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
Mr. Justice Denny Thomas of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench did not merely accept the arguments of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees when he slapped an injunction on the Government of Alberta yesterday, indefinitely suspending a law that could have forced 22,000 civil servants to live with a contract imposed on them by legislative fiat.
He delivered a withering denunciation of what his ruling suggested was the deceptive, dictatorial, and dishonourable way the government of Premier (Read more…)
Furious Alberta civil service “oranges” protest high-handed Tory “apples” during their illegal st**ke of 1980. Below: Provincial Treasurer Lou Hyndman in 1976; Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, no longer missing in action.
Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose!
After a spell during which he appeared to be missing in action, Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk resurfaced in the news columns Thursday to offer the opinion humongous salaries paid to well-connected Tory retainers in the nosebleed seats of the civil service are a meaningless distraction from the serious business of ensuring we all live within our means.
Given what he (Read more…)
Steam vents from the cabinet room at the Alberta Legislature. Actual eruptions of Tory fury may not be exactly as illustrated – and, actually, that’s the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Well, whatever, it’s better than a file shot of the law courts sign! Below: AUPE President Guy Smith.
Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall at today’s meeting of the Redford cabinet when the topic of yesterday’s ruling by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Denny Thomas on the matter of Bill 46 comes up?
One imagines the air will be pretty blue behind the closed doors of (Read more…)
AUPE Correctional Officers rally at the picket line outside the Edmonton Remand Centre during their illegal strike in June 2013. Below: Arbitrator Andy Sims; former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, as imagined by Sun Media; AUPE President Guy Smith.
An independent arbitrator has overturned the firing of four Correctional Officers who took part in the illegal April 2013 strike that the Redford Government claims prompted its unconstitutional legislative effort to all but ban collective bargaining by their union.
In a bare-bones note announcing the decision sent to the parties late Thursday, respected labour arbitrator Andy Sims replaced the firings with three-month (Read more…)
Deputy Premier Dave Hancock holds forth in the Legislature this morning as a few bored reporters half-heartedly listen. Below: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who could have written Mr. Hancock’s script; former Reform Party and now former SIRC chair Chuck Strahl.
With nothing to report in “negotiations” between the government of Alberta and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and the prospect of a self-imposed deadline to bring down the Bill-46 hammer next Friday, Deputy Premier Dave Hancock held a media availability in the Legislature yesterday morning.
Actually, it was a Seinfeld availability – you know, an availability about nothing.
Mr. Hancock (Read more…)
So-called free-speech advocate and celebrity commentator Ezra Levant. Below: Free-speech opponent Alison Redford, Canada’s answer to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, shown below her; that Voltaire guy; nearly forgotten Tory political strategist Stephen Carter.
Where’s Ezra Levant now that we need him?
Mr. Levant, after all, is frequently billed as Canada’s foremost “free speech advocate,” although mostly by himself and his friends in the headline writing department at the National Pest.
Still, establishing his free-speech-defending cred is an effort the celebrity Sun News Network entertainer seems to take seriously, going so far as to have a whiny website called StandWithEzra.ca (Read more…)
AUPE President Guy Smith speaks with the media after Friday’s session of the Alberta Labour Relations Board hearing. Below: Deputy Minister of the Executive Council Peter Watson; AUPE lawyer William Rigutto.
It’s probably too much to hope the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees can persuade the Alberta Labour Relations Board the Redford Government had already decided to hammer the union into the ground with legislation while it pretended to negotiate a contract last year.
The union’s argument in a Labour Relations Board hearing last week was that as direct employer of 21,000 civil servants, the government never negotiated in good (Read more…)
In Alberta, the Redford Government just passed one of the most offensive and blatant attacks on labour that we have ever seen. It is uniquely focused on the civil service unions in the province, but that does little to ameliorate the degree of wrong that Bills 45 and 46 represent to Alberta’s workers.
In Saskatchewan, the government recently passed another batch of legislation which very directly attacks organized labour.
Then, in Ottawa, the Harper Government is set to pass its own legislation designed to undermine Canada’s unions.
All of these laws ultimately are aimed at dismantling the ability of (Read more…)
Americanized Labor Policy Is Spreading in Europe – NYTimes.com.
While most of the debate over Europe’s response to the financial crisis has focused on the budget austerity enveloping the Continent, the comparatively unheralded erosion of worker protection is likely to have at least as big and lasting an impact on Europe’s social contract.
Filed under: Austerity, Europe, Exploitation, Labour, Neoliberalism Tagged: Collective bargaining, European Union, Labour law, labour relations
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…)