EDMONTON – AUPE President Guy Smith accused the Deputy Solicitor General of threatening a hard-won labour peace with taunting, threats and other goading behaviour on the Edmonton Remand Centre worksite, only the day after a promise was made to protect members from retaliation for strike activity.
The promise of an amnesty and an expedited safety review was secured in talks between Smith and Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk. The promise of no retribution for strike activity was repeated by Deputy Solicitor General Tim Grant in a news conference yesterday, again by Lukaszuk this morning on live radio, and again this afternoon by Solicitor General Jonathan Denis.
“I am furious. This morning in muster Correctional Peace Officers at the Edmonton Remand Centre were told by Deputy Solicitor General Tim Grant that they weren’t protected under the amnesty deal he promised yesterday, and there was no new process to deal with their safety concerns,” said Smith.
“Deputy Solicitor General Tim Grant is telling the public one thing, but behind the closed doors of the Edmonton Remand Centre he is telling our members something completely different,” he said.
“Behind closed doors, the government is making reckless statements and inciting our members. Now is the time for them to clearly and unambiguously tell our members that they are going to honour their agreement. If they fail to do so, we will make them answer for their behaviour,” said Smith.
“They are throwing fuel on still-hot coals. They are threatening a labour peace that was agreed to only on the basis of Deputy Premier Lukaszuk’s promise to quickly deal with safety concerns at the Edmonton Remand Centre, and his promise of an amnesty for our members,” Smith said.
If the employer seeks any disciplinary retribution against AUPE members for strike activity the union will take whatever action is necessary to protect its members.
“We were promised an expedited safety review dealing with ERC members’ concerns, and an amnesty with no retribution and no discipline for employees who went on strike. We are demanding that they hold to that agreement,” said Smith.
For more information contact:
Guy Smith, President, AUPE – 780-265-2294
Clarke McChesney, Chair, AUPE Local 003 – 403-829-1508
Mark Wells, Senior Communications Advisor, AUPE – 780-904-0688