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Edmonton The Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 31,000 public sector workers across the province, today released its brief prepared for the MLA Committee reviewing the Alberta Labour Relations Code. CUPE is urging the Alberta government to bring the Code up to national standards.

We are pointing out to the MLA Committee that the current provisions of the Code do not respect the Charter rights of Canadians to freedom of association, said CUPE Alberta President Yvonne Fast. Furthermore, Albertas labour laws are incredibly imbalanced giving employers across the province and in every sector many tools to deny working people their rights to improve the conditions of their employment, she added.

CUPE is recommending that the Code be changed to level the playing field between employers and employees when it comes to union organizing drives and achieving first collective agreements. CUPE is also recommending that the right to strike be protected and extended to all workers.

As is evidenced from around the world, high wage economies with balanced labour legislation are leading the global economy. We strongly recommend that Alberta move in this direction. We are reminding the MLA Committee that Alberta is a signatory to NAFTA, an agreement that recognizes the importance of the labour standards that CUPE is advocating, she said.

The Annex on Labour Principles in the NAFTA agreement asserts workers have the right to organize into unions, the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike.

In Alberta, there is a two-step process required to form a union that gives employers an advantage and places barriers to the full expression of the right to freedom of association, said Fast.


CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 31,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE website for more information cupealberta.ab.ca

For further information:
Pam Beattie, CUPE Communications
(780) 484-7644 or (780) 288-1230 (cellular)