UCP Right to Work Policy 3

Good day Union Family

There has been an upswing in Albertans being interested in politics over the last few years. Unfortunately, a lot of the new interest is focused in the United States on what Mr. Trump will tweet next, or what Mr. Trudeau will do next, because of this I know a lot of people have not noticed that the UCP is about to have their 2020 AGM October 16-17.

At the UCP AGM there are a total of 30 party policies that are to be voted on. These policies will direct the party into the future and provide direction to the current Alberta Government. Some of these policies are possibly positive for Albertans such as Policy 26 (Use the abundance of Alberta’s natural gas resources to encourage downstream growth in petrochemicals which could be used in the manufacturing of a vast array of plastics.) However, others are clearly negative like Policy 8 (Withdraw its share of funds from the existing Canada Pension Plan and start an Alberta Pension Plan.)

These are not the issues I want to focus on, the issue I would like to focus on is Policy 3 (Make Alberta a right-to-work jurisdiction.) First question is what does this actually mean? In basic terms employees are entitled to work for a unionized employer, paid at the same unionized rates, be protected by the union, without actually joining the union or paying union dues. Second question is what does this result in? A union that is required to utilize its resources for employees that are not paying into the union, will eventually not have the financial resources to provide representation to the members, to process grievances, to bargain properly, or provide legal council when needed. The Union becomes a shell that exists not for the needs of the membership, but for the needs of the organization that the members work for. To see examples of this we can look across the boarder the United States that has made a number of states right to work jurisdictions and the results can be seen in some of our Sister Locals, such as Local 66.

In most right to work states the members are paid less then members in neighboring states that are not right to work jurisdictions. The nonunion workers in these states are usually still paid less than the unionized workers. Usually due to the Unions inability to bargain wages in the collective agreements can be rolled back or in most cases are held without raises for in some cases decades. This usually results in wage packages that do not keep up with the cost of living moving people into the sector of “working poor” that are forced to rely on Government programs to provide the basic needs. This has negative affects on all aspects of the economy, such as real estate due to less and less people having the income to qualify for mortgages.

There is the possibility if the Provincial Government enacted right to work legislation that a charter challenge could be launched and be successful. However, this would have to come from a large group of unions due to the cost and complexity of the challenge. This would take a very long time and there is no guarantee that a charter challenge would be successful or if successful what the final outcomes would be for Alberta. The only other way to ensure that Alberta does not become a right to work jurisdiction is to make sure that Policy 3 never becomes part of the UCP mandate. To do this it must be voted down at this AGM on October 16-17, 2020.

To ensure this policy is voted down our members and like-minded Albertans must be there to do it. So, we need to be at the AGM. This requires our members to buy a UPC membership that can be completed at https://www.unitedconservative.ca/take-action/membership/ and then sign up for the UPC AGM that can be completed at https://www.ucpagm.ca/. If you feel comfortable to speak against this policy please do, your perspective may be a shift for change in others. However, if you are not comfortable speaking that is fine, we still need you to attend and vote to stop Policy 3 from moving any further.

This strategy of buying memberships and voting at AGM’s has worked in Alberta previously and can work again if our members work together.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager