AUPE’s thirty-eighth annual convention continues today. Delegates are looking forward to the political forum this afternoon, when leaders of Alberta’s three sitting opposition parties will answer questions gathered through The Alberta Way, AUPE’s political engagement campaign.
AUPE members’ mobilization over the past year – lobbying MLAs, writing letters, attending rallies and meetings across the province — have led to huge victories, President Guy Smith told delegates at Convention 2014 on Thursday.
To see video of President Smith’s address, click on the link below.
“You have been speaking up and generally putting your AUPE pride into action,” he said.
Over the past year, Smith explained, members fought for their pensions, for free collective bargaining rights, against privatization of services like the land titles registry, to keep the Michener Centre open and “to bring down a discredited bully of a premier.”
“You made history in the last year,” Smith said. Through those struggles, AUPE “showed we are proud, loud and we are stronger than ever.”
He added, “None of this could have been achieved without the hard work of your Executive. This team is the most solid, passionate and committed Executive I have ever worked with.”
Smith thanked the Executive’s families for their support and patience and the Provincial Executive, “who made crucial leadership decisions when they needed to.”
He also acknowledged AUPE’s management and staff, “the best staff of any union in the country working for you every single day.”
But even with all the victories over the past 12 months, now is not the time to let up.
“We have more challenges to address and prepare for,” he said, noting issues like contracting out, short staffing and employers “large and small” who refuse to bargain fairly.
“We have to keep pushing forward. That’s what makes our union great.”
The theme of this year’s convention is, “Preparing for Change,” which Smith suggested should be AUPE’s mantra moving forward.
Smith said we must continue to send the message to politicians that “if you take on AUPE, you will pay the political price, and I can tell you, sisters and brothers, that message was heard loud and clear by government.”
We need to continue to mobilize the membership, to “drill down” into worksites and reach out to all members.
AUPE’s The Alberta Way campaign promotes the values of working hard, talking straight and keeping your word. We aim to restore these values to politics in Alberta.
“We will take this message into communities,” Smith said. “While we have made history over the past year, we need to build a future we can be proud of.”
The victories of the past year, he said, have set the stage.
“You guys have stepped up to the plate and made a real difference.”
More than 1,000 delegates, observers and guests from across the province gathered in Edmonton this morning for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees’ annual three-day Convention at the Shaw Conference Centre.
The leaders of all three provincial Opposition parties will face off Friday in a forum during the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees’ annual Convention at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.
“It’s going to be a very lively and engaging discussion,” said AUPE President Guy Smith. “The leaders will face some very tough questions on important issues facing the province, and Convention delegates will expect nothing less than straight answers.”
The forum will feature Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, NDP leader Brian Mason and Liberal leader Raj Sherman. Premier Jim Prentice declined AUPE’s invitation to participate, and no alternate representative of the Progressive Conservative party was made available.
Media are invited to attend the forum, which runs from 2 – 4 p.m. on Friday Oct. 17. It will be question-and-answer format, with each leader answering questions based on feedback from the public and AUPE members during The Alberta Way summer tour. The opposition leaders will be available for comment after the event.
Audio of the forum will be livestreamed. Links to the steam will be posted on www.thealbertaway.com and www.aupe.org. Video will be posted on the web afterward.
“We want to make this important event accessible to all Albertans,” explained Smith. “We are in the midst of four byelections and the ground is being prepared for a pivotal general election. We want to help the electorate become more politically knowledgeable and involved. That’s the best way to hold politicians accountable.”
The forum will be hosted by Albert Howell, the spokesman for AUPE’s The Alberta Way campaign. Howell, a Calgary native, is a comedian and writer who has worked on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Comedy Inc. He can be seen on The Alberta Way TV commercials and internet videos.
“The campaign is about holding politicians to the values of working hard, talking straight and keeping your word — what we call The Alberta Way,” explained Smith. “In recent years these values have been lacking in politics, and we want to urge Albertans to demand more of their leaders.”
AUPE’s annual Convention runs Oct. 16 – 18 at the Shaw Conference Centre. More than 1,000 delegates, guests and observers will attend. Delegates to the annual gathering will debate policy and set the union’s direction for the coming year.
To find out more about the Alberta Way Campaign, go to www.thealbertaway.com.
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith, AUPE President: (780) 265-2294
Tyler Bedford, AUPE communications officer: (780) 298-7626