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CALGARY – Hundreds of public-sector workers and allies will gather at Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre tomorrow to spread the word about being unfairly attacked by Alberta’s UCP government.

Media are invited to attend.

EVENT: Information picket
DATE: Wednesday, July 3
TIME: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
LOCATION: On the east side of Foothills Medical Centre at 29th Street N.W., Calgary
IN ATTENDANCE: Guy Smith, AUPE president

“Our members are angrier than I have seen for many years over the attack on their basic rights and their work that the government launched with Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act,” says Guy Smith, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), who will be attending the Foothills information picket.

“This information picket was organized by front-line workers themselves. They are furious and it’s easy to see why. Not only does Bill 9 break a legally binding contract with the employer, not only is it a violation of our charter rights, but it’s an insult to the vital work they do every day on behalf of Albertans,” says Smith.

“On July 1, the Alberta government went ahead with cutting tax rates for already profitable large corporations, which will end up as bonuses for shareholders and executives, so clearly the government can find money for the rich, but not for working Albertans. Over four years, the planned tax cuts will cost Alberta $4.5 billion,” he says.

“Meanwhile, figures released last week showed the province is more than $2-billion better off than expected thanks to increased revenue. Imagine how it feels to be a front-line worker who has accepted a two-year wage freeze to see these headlines and then read about how vital it is to attack them. It’s insulting and it’s illegal.”

AUPE has already filed a statement of claim at Court of Queen’s Bench based on two key issues: That Bill 9 goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and therefore should not go into effect; and for a court injunction to allow wage arbitration to go ahead as negotiated in good faith by AUPE members and their employers. The court hearing for the injunction is scheduled July 29.

Information pickets have already been held or are planned at locations across the province including Lac la Biche, Vegreville, Tofield, Lamont (taking place today, July 2), Two Hills (taking place tomorrow, July 3) and Leduc (taking place July 9).

“Our members are fighting mad,” says Smith. “We’re going to fight this unfair attack in the courts and we’re going to fight on the streets.”

For more information:
Terry Inigo-Jones, AUPE communications officer: 403-531-8602 or 403-831-4394 (cellphone).

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