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CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts asked Wild Rose leader Brian Jean to speak out against the Fort McMurray Airport Authority’s plan to privatize custodial services in favour of a company that relies on Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW).

“When he was in the House of Commons, Mr. Jean made very clear statements about the TFW program and the need to employ Canadians first,” Roberts said. “It’s time he intervened in the Fort McMurray situation on behalf of the Canadian workers.”

On May 1, 2013, while Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray-Athabasca, Mr. Jean said:

“I have heard from union and non-union members throughout my constituency that they clearly want some changes to the temporary foreign worker program. We are here for Canadians, and Canadians should have first crack at any job they want, no matter what part. of the country they are from.”

“We agree with Mr. Jean in this regard,” Roberts said. “We ask him to bring his influence as a Fort McMurray politician, resident, and business owner to stop the Airport Authority from contracting out these jobs and laying off 24 hard-working Canadians.”

Last week, the Fort McMurray Airport Authority announced that custodial workers would lose their jobs to a private cleaning Company, Bill’s General Cleaning. Bill’s uses Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in its services.

Since the announcement, Bill’s confirmed with the Edmonton Journal (Apr 11) that TFWs would be used to replace the Canadian employees.

According to his website, Bill’s pays on average half of what the current workers earn and less than half the average cost of living in Fort McMurray.

Many of the custodial workers are women with little education, few job prospects, but are the sole income earners in their households. Losing their jobs means applying for social assistance and possible homelessness.

“It’s time our political leaders speak in favour of Canadian workers and tell the Fort McMurray Airport Authority: No contracting out!” Roberts said.

For more information, please contact:

David Loan
CUPE Alberta Communications Representative
(o) 780-484-7644
(c) 613-301-7468