Nearly a century ago, 400 Albertans working in the public sector formed the Civil Service Association of Alberta, which would later become the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

Today, AUPE is the largest union of working Albertans, standing over 95,000 members strong, and is on the front lines fighting for fairness and dignity in the workplace and for a strong public service for all Albertans

Of course, not everyone in power likes it when workers join together in solidarity to make life better for themselves, their families, their communities and their province.

Some politicians and employers want to roll back workers’ rights.

Recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that federal public-service employees could keep all the benefits and services provided by their co-workers’ union dues without pitching in a cent themselves. This threat to workers’ rights is not unique to the United States. It is knocking on Alberta’s front door; but we believe that American style politics have no place in our great province.

Anti-union corporations, politicians, and lobbyists know this scheme is deliberately designed to weaken workers’ rights by bankrupting unions. They support policies like this because it allows them to achieve their goals of more profit and power at the expense of ordinary working people.

We recognize just how dangerous these ideas are, and how they would be disastrous for the wellbeing of all Albertans no matter what our political future holds.

We will be watching carefully as Alberta’s political parties develop their platforms for the provincial election next spring. We will be prepared to defend the rights of workers and of all Albertans to receive the services they need and deserve regardless of which political party forms Government.

We do this because workers’ rights, human rights, and your interests are not special interests. AUPE’s members have fought this battle for nearly 100 years and we’ll be there to fight in the next 100. Together, we can continue to build a society based on fairness, equity, and dignity.

Happy Labour Day!

Guy Smith
President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees