Mark Hancock | National President
When Jason Kenney became Premier of Alberta in April 2019, we knew we would have some tough fights on our hands. We knew we’d be facing attacks on health care and education, on the vulnerable in our society, and on the services our members provide.
Now, our right to even speak out about those issues is under attack by Kenney’s United Conservative government.
That’s because this summer, Kenney railroaded Bill 32 through the legislature – a bill designed to prevent unions from talking about issues important to their members and working families. It attacks workers’ freedom of expression and assembly, by legislating restrictions on where unions are allowed to picket and forcing them to apply to the government for permission to picket.
It attacks the rights of non-union workers too, cutting overtime pay and paid breaks, and making it easier for employers to lay off or terminate workers en masse.
This legislation doesn’t just threaten generations of work by the labour movement to strengthen workers’ rights and bring fairness into the workplace.
It threatens the right of workers to have a voice in our democracy.
Shutting out the voice of workers in political discussions isn’t a side effect of this legislation. Shutting us up is the whole point.
This law is not just offensive, unnecessary, and anti-democratic. It’s an attack on our constitutional rights. Unions have always played a key role in the democratic process in Canada. For years, we have been the proud voice of working people, fighting for justice when the deck is stacked against us in favour of employers and big business.
Let’s be clear, if this can happen in Alberta, it can happen anywhere. This isn’t just an issue for our 40,000 members in Alberta, or our 700,000 members nationwide. It’s an issue for every single worker in this country. As Canada’s largest union, CUPE will be leading the fight against this bill in the months to come.