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Could The Anti-Union Bill Trigger General Strike In Alberta?

If Not, Will Unions Really Exist At All In Alberta?

by Daniel Johnson

Alberta's public sector labour unions have already lost the power to legally strike. This has been an unfortunate fact since the very creation of the Alberta Union Of Provincial Employees in 1977, and the entire labour movement in Alberta as a whole has accepted this and moved on. 

The occasional strikes happen, wildcat strikes and work stoppages at specific shops and the like, but with heavy penalties and little support from the union. 

One example was earlier this year when the gaurds at the Edmonton Remand Centre.went on strike for 5 days, joined briefly by many social workers, probation officers and a scattering of other public employees. The AUPE paid over $350,000 in fines as a result. 

But with Allison Redford's Conservative government's Bill 46, they won't even have the right to arbitration and the union can now be fined for 'talk of a strike' rather than just for striking. 

However, in many media outlets this has been incorrectly referred to as a restriction on the Unions right to strike. 

This is not true since rights can not be legislated, and workers have the right to form a union and, as a union, withdraw it's collective labour power on the will of it's members, because rights are above legislation, and legislation is subject to rights, never the other way around. 

At different times and in different places, unions and strikes have been made illegal, and in most cases these laws have changed because general strikes of long duration and major economic and social impact forced governments to overturn the laws.

This is why we have weekends, EI, etc. today, and without unions we risk losing those things, and without the power to strike, there really is no union. 



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Daniel Johnson (Daniel Johnson)
Regina Sask
Member since Août 2013


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