It’s an exciting time to be a New Democrat in Alberta. The Conservatives are still drowning in scandal despite Jim Prentice’s leadership. Albertans are still rightfully wary of the Wildrose and their disturbing similarity to tea party folks south of the border. And the Alberta Liberals are a sinking ship drifting further under water everyday.
As we look around for a real alternative to the right-wing policies that have failed us, the NDP is emerging as the only party with a future in Alberta. And a leadership race offers a great opportunity to present Albertans with a vision for that future.
Politics has an undeniable impact on our members’ lives. Who is in government determines everything from labour laws, to health and safety laws, to the minimum wage.
We ignore politics at our own peril. The best way to achieve our goals as workers is to be active players in the politics of our province. That’s why I’m excited to offer UFCW Local 401 members the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of the Alberta NDP leadership candidates in a live and interactive telephone town hall.
The town hall will take place tomorrow, Saturday, October 4, from 2:30pm – 3:30pm MST.
Most members will have received an invitation voice message from me about the town hall. If you received that call, all you need to do is answer your phone when we call you tomorrow at 2:30pm MST. If you do not receive that call, you can call into the town hall by dialing 1-888-772-5578 and ask your questions of the NDP leadership candidates live.
I hope you’ll join us for a lively and important discussion about the future of our Party and our province.
An important milestone will be taking place for UFCW Local 401 on Monday, October 6. After a great deal of work and effort, we will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony at the site where our new building is to be constructed in Calgary.
Myself, Secretary Treasurer Theresa McLaren, the UFCW 401 Executive Board, and others will be geathered at the lot immediately beside the Holiday Inn Express (45 Hopewell Way NE) at 1:00pm with shovels in hand to start the process of building our new home. Members who are in the area that would like to join us for this exciting event are more than welcome!
In a recent decision by the Alberta Labour Relations Board, i-Hotel in Red Deer was found guilty of obstruction in the formation of a trade union by way of intimidation and termination of employees for engaging in union activity in the Hotel.
The witnesses from the Hotel had such compelling case evidence that the Employer had no choice but to admit to committing the breaches of the Alberta Labour Relations Code of which they were guilty. It was clear to the Alberta Labour Relations Board that the Employer tried to stop workers from having fair representation and so Local 401 won remedy from the Board. Given the various Labour Code violations by i-Hotel, the Board offered multiple solutions to our complainants.
Firstly, the two complainants whose employment was terminated and who faced intimidation and harassment by the Employer were offered their jobs back – though both declined to be reinstated having found better employment elsewhere. In addition, the employees that were unjustly terminated received full back pay for all hours that would have been worked until finding full-time employment.
The next remedy offered by the Board was for the workers that were still employed by the Hotel at the time of judgement and who faced great discomfort and intimidation in the aftermath of the terminations when expressing their legal right to unionize. The Board decided that the union would be given two meetings per month for three months with hotel workers. All meetings would last two hours and all employees would be given 30 minutes paid time to be allowed to speak with and get more information from the union. Furthermore, the Board decided that no management or employer personnel would be allowed in these meetings and that employees would be allowed free access to attend these meetings without obstruction by the employer. UFCW 401 held the first of these i-Hotel meetings on August 14, 2014.
In this particular decision by the Board, it is important to note, as the Employer himself admitted in testimony, that Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) make up 40% of the entire hotel staff and that 60% of employees speak English as their second language. As such, the Board gave the opinion that this language barrier makes TFW a vulnerable group at the Hotel and that they and other new Canadians should have additional time or assistance from the union to help them understand their labour rights.
According to Joe Irving, lead Organizer on the i-Hotel campaign, “There is no question the Employer has violated the employee’s right to unionize and that President Doug O’Halloran has stood up for these employees by filing charges.” Mr. Irving further stated that he will continue to answer questions by i-Hotel workers and that he will notify employees of the changes in the law and the protection they deserve in Alberta.
Are you interested in working for Alberta’s largest private sector union? Then you should check out the job opportunities we have posted for both our Edmonton and Calgary offices!
We’re currently hiring for the following positions:
Applications will be accepted for all positions until October 15, 2014.