Labour unions have a lot to celebrate this year – provincially, nationally and internationally. South of the border we have seen labour unions fighting for human rights and the Fight for 15 movement has had a huge impact on minimum wage in the United States.
Here in Alberta, Teamsters Local 362 has been proud to fight for workplace rights for Airport Pre-Board Screeners in Alberta and also spreading awareness about suicide prevention with our campaign You Are Not Alone. The public support form Albertan’s has been amazing, and we are so thankful for that.
In Canada, unions have also been fighting to protect the rights of workers across the country. Here are just a few highlights of wins for labour in 2017.
1. Passing of Bill C-4
This year in June Bill C-4 was passed, which was praised by union members and leaders across the country. This bill repeals two bills that were passed under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, C-377 and C-525. Bill C-377 targets labour organizations, with critics arguing that it is unconstitutional and violates the rights and privacy of all Canadians. Bill C-525 would make the union certification process very difficult, eliminating the automatic card check certification and replacing it with a two-stage process adding a voting process in addition to card signing.
2. Alberta Workers Better Protected
This year the Alberta NDP brought forward a large amount of changes to labour laws in Alberta, something that union members and leaders have pushed towards for a long time.
Bill 17, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act, was passed in June. This saw significant changes to provincial labour law, including union certification. They are now working to push through Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. This bill, if passed, would mean an improved Workers Compensation Board system and Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS).
3. Alberta Film Support
The Alberta government announced in October that there would be a new Screen-Based Production Grant, that will replace the Alberta Production Grant. The Grant will make $45 million per year available to eligible production companies working in Alberta and will offer productions a cash grant of up to 30 per cent of eligible production expenditures made in Alberta. This is great news for labour in the province. It also will up the per-project cap from $5 million to $7.5 million.
Both Teamsters 362 Secretary-Treasurer Al Porter and President Wayne Garner, said that the film industry in Alberta is extremely important for all aspects of our economy and welcomed this news.