AFL’s Gil McGowan responds to Minister Dreeshen’s call for federal “back-to-work” legislation

“Dreeshen’s comments don’t help workers in Alberta or B.C.”

EDMONTON – Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan made the following statement in response to Alberta Transportation Minister Devin Dreeshen’s call for federal “back-to-work” legislation:

“Minister Dreeshen’s call for federal ‘back-to-work’ legislation shows his disregard for Alberta workers and his lack of understanding of Alberta economics. We do not recommend that the federal government interfere with the work action ongoing at B.C. Ports.

“He is perfectly aware that stripping any Canadian worker of their right to strike puts them at a significant disadvantage at the bargaining table. This leads to workers getting stuck with worse working conditions.

“Furthermore, this puts workers across Canada at a disadvantage when they go to negotiate their collective bargaining agreements. This includes Alberta’s workers in the oil and gas sector. With Alberta wages already falling behind inflation, interference does nothing to improve Alberta’s economy.

“Like so many Alberta workers, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) worked through the pandemic to keep out province’s exports moving. They worked through hazardous conditions for us and Alberta’s economy. The least the Alberta government could do is stay out of their way while they fight to keep their wages on par with inflation.

“If Minister Dreeshen wants to get the Port of Vancouver re-opened and support both Alberta and B.C. workers, he should be calling on the Employer Association to negotiate quickly and meaningfully with the ILWU. This would be far more beneficial than begging Ottawa to interfere with the bargaining process.

“The AFL’s affiliates and their 170,000 members stand in solidarity with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. We strongly encourage the employer to come to a negotiated agreement as soon as possible.”

– 30 –

John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL