How members fought off privatization in the public sector
In 2021, the United Conservative Party took up a torch discarded by past conservative governments and renewed a plan to privatize the Land Titles, Corporate, and Personal Property Registries.
But, the 130 AUPE members working in these registries under the Government of Alberta were unwilling to back down and allow the privatization to occur without a struggle. These AUPE members knew what is possible when workers band together and organize for change. They successfully organized a strategic effort to stop the impending privatization, and in doing so protected public services and their jobs.
“AUPE members provide immense value for Albertans,” says AUPE Vice-President Darren Graham. “Not only are they dedicated to their work, but they also know maintaining public services is in the best interest of all Albertans.
“We have seen the privatization of the Land Titles, Corporate, and Personal Property Registries in other parts of Canada. Privatization reduces quality of service and increases costs for everyday Canadians.”
The members’ first strategic approach was stakeholder and supporter engagement. Members knew that they were not alone in this fight and engaged Albertans who had a vested interest in maintaining these public services. AUPE members sought to leverage relationships and engaged with the Canadian Condominium Institute; the former Minister of Service Alberta, Doug Griffiths; land surveyors; and lawyers. Members effectively rallied these impacted individuals to protect their collective interests.
Members knew they needed a target on which to focus their efforts. That target was Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta. Members knew that they needed many people to contact the Minister. They organized an outreach campaign to contact other AUPE members to encourage them to show solidarity and contact the Minister on their behalf over the phone and email. Members also leafleted in Glubish’s own constituency.
“AUPE members know that collective action is the best way forward to enact meaningful change,” says Graham.
They then began engaging Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) across the province to support their cause. They held meetings with MLAs and asked them to contact Minister Glubish on their behalf to advocate for maintaining the public service and stop privatization.
In October 2021, Service Alberta announced they were abandoning their privatization plans and the campaign ended with AUPE Presidentmembers declaring victory. Their collective efforts successfully halted the privatization of these public services.
“This campaign was a clear example of the power AUPE members have when they work together,” says Graham.
“We have the power to enact meaningful change, to protect public services, including the people who provide those services, as well as the well-being of Albertans across the province.”