Hello again Brothers and Sisters,
As I write this message, Albertans will go to the polls next Tuesday, April 16, and we face a critical choice. We may never again enjoy the global oil prices and economic conditions of ten years ago. Being caught in the boom and bust cycle of world energy prices is a cat and mouse game we will never win. That’s why I’m supporting the leader who is working to diversify our economy with targeted subsidies for petrochemical and value-added industries, while keeping up infrastructure spending to keep our members working building schools, hospitals, light rail transit projects, bridges, and roads in our home communities across the province. That leader is Rachel Notley.
Because of the changes in the global economy, your union is also changing. Alberta’s economy is diversifying and so are we. We’re fighting for new work in new industries to make sure the benefits go to working families.
I’m supporting Rachel Notley because Rachel is prepared to invest in health care for our loved ones and good services for our kids. I’m not here to tell you how to vote, but all I know is we can’t go backwards. We’ve got to put an end to the entitlement and corruption we saw in previous governments. Jason Kenny has advocated for changes like banking up to 60 hours of overtime, paid at straight time rates, and then not paying it out until a person is laid off. This would of course cause delays in receiving your Employment Insurance benefits at the end of the job. This will not stabilize the average Alberta family.
On the bargaining side, we are in a difficult position. I have written the Alberta Mediation Services to inform them that we will be seeking bargaining assistance after we were unable to reach consensus with our contractors at the small table. There is a lot of numbers floating around from other unions. Let me be clear, these are not the numbers we are facing with any of our sectors – carpenters, scaffolders, or millwrights. Please don’t be sucked in by rumors and chest-thumping. We have succeeded in breaking into new sectors and markets where many other unions have not been as successful, and that has made our position stronger.
I do want to take a minute to acknowledge the incredible work our members have been doing in commercial and civil construction. We are delivering a high quality product on these jobs. That will help us to secure even more work in downtown Edmonton and Calgary, as well as across the province. I also want to thank training center staff for their work in preparing and delivering the Concrete Formwork course to train scaffolders in concrete. We are also moving forward in the floorcovering industry with training, and have made a commitment to train our members for where the work is going to go.
I believe that unions like ours need to fight to protect the middle class. Our members are well trained and we deliver the best product safely – period. Non-union and CLAC projects often come in late and over budget. We offer quality work in return for jobs that support families – and we want to continue to do that.
It’s never been truer that a strong union means a strong middle class and that means a strong economy. We need to fight together to make this happen. So whatever your party or candidate of choice is, make sure you go and vote. Advance polls are open now, please make sure you exercise your democratic right.