Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Government (UPC) swept into power last year with Alberta’s Union’s firmly in their sights. Of the of bills they have passed since, two in particular clearly indicate the conservative government’s position on organized labour and the value of the public services communities rely on.
Bill 2 (An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business), cut public services, laid off front-line workers, and ended a ban on using replacement workers. Also hidden in the massive omnibus bill was the Public Sector Employers Act, which gave the government the power to give secret mandatory orders to employers during negotiations on any Article under the Collective Agreement, in an attempt to manipulate the bargaining process.
They reduced the minimum wage for many workers under the age of 18, reduced general holiday pay, overtime premiums, generally made it harder for workers to unionize by requiring mandatory certification in all certification applications, and attempted to limit public sector wage gains by delaying arbitrations.
Bill 1 (the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act), introduced on February 25th, 2020 seems innocuous at first glance, but make no mistake this is another attack on Unions by the UCP government.
Bill 1 prohibits persons from interfering with the operation of essential infrastructure, defined as; pipelines, utilities, mines railways, etc. Under the Traffic Safety Act highway is a very broad term, it includes any public, or privately owned, street, road, trail, driveway, lane, alley or sidewalk.
Under this legislation, police could arrest individuals from peacefully participating on such events as an information or solidarity pickets, under the guise the individual was interfering with the operation of essential infrastructure” without lawful right, justification or excuse”, even if the person were on a public sidewalk, boulevard, or driveway.
This legislation is designed specifically as an intimidation tactic, allowing for arrest without warrant, and a minimum $1,000 fine for a first offense in the expectation this will dissuade activists from participating on strike lines, even in a legal labour dispute.
As virtually every public sector collective agreement in Alberta is up for renewal this year. This legislation is aimed at making strikes, and protests illegal, to deny people the right to stand up against the cut’s to public services, and deny them the right to stand in Solidarity against the Conservative government’s systematic attack on the working people of Alberta.
Take Action Now
Contact your MLA and send a clear message.
Say “NO” to Bill 1