PRESS RELEASE: AFL president Gil McGowan speaking up for Alberta workers at Premiers’ meeting

WINNIPEG — Workers and families are looking to Canada’s premiers to work with the labour movement for concrete action to fix health care, make life more affordable and ensure good, sustainable union jobs in a changing economy, Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) president Gil McGowan said today.

“Families continue to struggle through the health crisis while their budgets are stretched to the breaking point,” said McGowan, who is joining labour federation presidents from across Canada at this week’s Council of the Federation meetings from July 11th to the 12th. “They need to see a secure, viable future as Canada shifts to a climate-friendly economy.”

“Working people have shouldered huge burdens to get Canada through the challenges of the past three years. They need to see our premiers setting aside their differences with each other, and putting workers and families at the centre of their discussions this week,” McGowan said, calling for action on:

Health care: “Across the country, patients are enduring long waits for treatment and hospitals are struggling to keep emergency rooms open. And with yet another summer of extreme staff shortages underway, health care workers have to put in unsustainable hours under unacceptable working conditions.

“It’s time for the premiers to listen to frontline workers, and work with health care unions to improve working conditions, recruit and retain workers, and ensure our cherished public health services are viable for the long term.”

Spiralling costs: “Rising interest rates are squeezing working families, prices for everything from housing to groceries continue to rise, and corporations and big banks continue to pull in record profits.

“We need urgent action from all levels of government to end this relentless economic attack on working people, and to take immediate steps to make it easier for families to make ends meet.”

Climate change: “Working people are on the front lines of the climate crisis: fighting wildfires and floods and coping with the fallout from climate extremes. This summer’s unprecedented wildfire epidemic shows how desperate the need for urgent climate action truly is.

“Now is the time to make sure workers aren’t left behind as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy. My fellow presidents and I are calling on the premiers to work in close collaboration with labour unions, so we can develop a future-proof industrial strategy that puts workers and their communities first in every province, territory, and region of our country.”

McGowan will be available throughout the Council of the Federation meetings for media comments.


John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL