June 20, 2019
Government Holds Rights of Workers in Contempt
Resounding No! to Legislated Attacks
on Public Sector Workers
Alberta workers rally in the rotunda of the Alberta Legislature, June
12, 2019, following first
reading of Bill 9. (AUPE)
• Using What
Is Legal Against What Is Just Shows Contempt for Rule of
Law - Peggy Morton
• Nurses' Union Appeals Labour Board Decision
For Your Information
• Section of the Collective Agreements the
Government Is Violating
• Kenney Government's Blue Ribbon Panel
Lockout of Aluminum
Workers in Becancour, Quebec
• United Steelworkers Files Complaint with
International Labour Organization Against Quebec Government
• Arguments of the United Steelworkers
• Unacceptable Comments from Quebec Premier and
Alberta Government Holds Rights of
Workers in Contempt
AFL President Gil McGowan and AUPE President Guy Smith speak to media
from the legislature rotunda denouncing Bill 9.
The Kenney government introduced the Public Sector
Wage Arbitration Deferral Act as Bill 9 in the Alberta Legislature
on June 13. The legislation will "legalize" postponing scheduled and
ongoing collective bargaining and arbitration for 180,000 public sector
workers in Alberta, involving 24 collective agreements, until at least
October 31 and in some cases to March 15, 2020. The Bill prohibits
implementation of wage re-opener clauses in these agreements, which set
out a date when the matter goes to arbitration if a negotiated
settlement is not reached and a date by which the arbitration must be
According to the Kenney
government, the Act provides only for a "procedural delay" until the
government has received the report of its "blue ribbon" panel on the
state of Alberta's finances due August 15. The government further
claims that it does not violate public sector contracts. This is
clearly false, as the bill breaches the provisions of
the collective agreements of Alberta's nurses, teachers, health care
workers, provincial government employees, and others.
By making it "legal" to dictate changes to a collective
agreement, Bill 9 violates the right of all workers to a say and
control over wages, conditions of work and their living standards
generally, and at the very least the right to negotiate their terms of
employment in a climate of equilibrium and not arbitrariness and
dictate. It shows that far from upholding the rule of law, the
government is prepared to tear up collective agreements and to act in
utter contempt of the spirit and letter of the law. While public sector
workers are the specific target of this attack, an attack on the legal
rights of these workers is an attack against all workers.
According to Jason Kenney and the United Conservative
Party (UCP), they won the election and therefore have a mandate to do
whatever they please. On this basis the Kenney government is dredging
up all the despised and discredited buzzwords of the Ralph Klein and
Mike Harris era -- cutting red tape, making Alberta "open for
"cutting waste," "finding efficiencies in government" and so on. It
claims there is no alternative to cutting investments in social
programs and attacking the workers who deliver them.
In claiming to speak for Albertans, the government is
trying to present the opposition of public sector workers to this
assault as a violation of the will of the people who have supposedly
provided the ruling party with a mandate. But it is the entire working
class which is being attacked when the right to a say in wages, living
and working conditions is negated. Further, workers who deliver the
public services which the people need to live a modern humane existence
are the front line of defence of these services. Their resistance has
proven crucial time and again in the fight against wrecking of public
services including health care, education and seniors' care. The key
issue facing the people is how to end the anti-social offensive, and on
this there is no split between workers employed by the state or public
agencies and those who sell their ability to work to private interests.
While successive governments
hand over billions to the energy oligarchs and other rich private
interests, the workers are told by successive governments that they
must "do their bit" to reduce the deficit or balance the budget or else
the government will use force against them. Public sector workers do
service to society when they refuse to be
put on the defensive as concerns their right to wages, benefits and
security in retirement, and to working conditions which allow them to
teach the youth, care for the sick, elderly and people with
disabilities, protect the natural environment, look after the
infrastructure and make society function every day.
The assault on the right to collectively negotiate
wages, working and living conditions shows the extent of the
destruction of politics and the profound crisis of the so-called
democratic institutions which block the polity from collectively
setting the direction for the economy and society. The wrecking of
politics replaces inquiry, discussion and
good-faith negotiations with wrecking, force and dictate and the use of
police powers, all in the service of the financial oligarchy who
exercise their domination over the economy and society.
The right of workers to negotiate collectively their
terms of employment is a right that belongs to workers because of their
essential role in production and contributions to society. This right
cannot be denied or negated through legislation, or justified by
appointing former politicians and others to Blue Ribbon Panels who
neo-liberal assaults on workers. Depriving workers of their rights has
the aim of diverting even more of the social wealth working people
produce into the hand of the rich and forcing workers into
unsustainable working conditions, which are increasingly precarious.
The Kenney government is
attempting to negate the right of working people to negotiate terms of
employment in a climate of equilibrium in which those who do the work
have a say, which includes the right to say no. The government's aim is
to "Charter-proof" its attack on the right to collectively
negotiate terms of employment
through a deceptive process to suppress the rights of public service
workers while cutting the social programs and public services the
people need for a modern humane existence. This is unacceptable in
today's world and should never happen.
The Kenney government's assault is an attack on all
working people. Workers' Forum calls on everyone to stand with
the Alberta public sector workers in defence of rights and to say No!
to dictate and illegality in the service of rich private interests.
Workers stand as one against Bill 9 in Alberta legislature rotunda.
Workers and leaders of the unions representing about
180,000 public sector workers in Alberta stood as one at the
legislature as Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral
Act bill received first reading. As soon as the bill had passed
First Reading, they rallied in the rotunda of the legislature where a
press conference took
place. Present were the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE),
Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA), Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE), Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), and United
Nurses Association (UNA) together with the Alberta Federation of Labour
Workers filled the rotunda
at the legislature, shouting So, So, So, Solidarity! Speakers condemned
the government's assault on the rights of workers, including the right
to collectively negotiate their collective agreements, and made it
clear that working people will not accept this assault.
Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of
Labour called Bill 9 a "bully bill." "They are using the power of their
majority in government to break legally-binding contracts. If they did
this to the contracts of businesses who supply goods and services to
government, the business community would be up in arms. But this is
what they're doing to hundreds of thousands of nurses, teachers and
other public sector workers. It would be unfair, inappropriate and
illegal if they were doing it to businesses and it's unfair,
inappropriate and illegal now that they're doing [it] to working
UNA President Heather Smith said that the level of
interference in collective bargaining in this bill goes further than
anything done by the Klein Government in the mid-1990s. "In the
history of our union, it is the biggest betrayal by government we have
ever seen in terms of reaching in and using the power of legislation to
alter the terms and
conditions, and agreed upon, terms of our contract," she said.
HSAA President Mike Parker said, "If I can't guarantee
the stability of a collective agreement for my membership, then I don't
think I can guarantee labour peace for this province."
ATA president Greg Jeffery, called the bill an affront
to his members, and a heavy-handed abuse of power that significantly
erodes trust between the government and its public servants. "These
agreements were reached in good faith, and now the government is using
its highest powers to unilaterally change the terms of the agreement.
business world, if a contract was blatantly ignored like this, you
would never do business with that company again." He called on the
government to withdraw the bill.
"Six of the last seven years teachers have accepted a
zero-per cent increase," he said. "There was hope for this arbitration
and to pull that hope away from Alberta's teachers especially at this
time of year is tragic," he said.
Members of AUPE picket in Lac La Biche, June 15, 2019, against Bill 9.
AUPE president Guy Smith called the bill an "egregious
attack" and explained that the union is supposed to be ramping up
negotiations that will impact 70,000 members. Arbitration for AUPE
government services, Alberta Health services nursing care and general
support services began on June 11 and is now cancelled. Bargaining
post-secondary education and government boards and agencies are also
scheduled to begin arbitration. "This is authoritarian, this is
ideological and it does nothing but create labour unrest," Smith said.
He said that workers are ready to take action in response to the
government's violation of their rights. "The level of anger amongst our
something I haven't seen in years," he said.
The unions indicated that they will be meeting together
in the days ahead to plan their course of action. As well, preparations
are already underway to consider their legal options.
The AUPE Facebook page has a list of actions that people
can take now. They include:
Contact Alberta's Labour Minister and let him know a
deal's a deal. Using legislation to break the terms of a negotiated
collective agreement isn't bargaining. It's bullying.
- By phone:
Call Labour Minister Jason Copping at 780-638-9400 and call Finance
Minister Travis Toews at 780-415-4855.
- By email: Email Labour Minister Jason Copping at
firstname.lastname@example.org and Finance Minister Travis Toews
Twitter: Tweet Labour Minister Jason Copping @JasonCoppingMLA and the
United Conservative Party @Alberta_UCP. Use hashtag #ableg
Talk to your coworkers: Ask them how they feel about
this illegal attack [on] your rights, your wages and your jobs. Talk
about what you're prepared to do to
take action. Show them how to join the fight.
Stay tuned: We'll be in touch as the situation
develops with more news and more opportunities to have your voices
Workers across Alberta and Canada should provide their
full support in this fight which clearly reveals that the government is
trying to get away with doing unacceptable things by making things
legal, which is unjust and in contempt of what is meant by Rule of Law.
Speak with your co-workers about what is at stake and to join in
actions to demand that the Alberta and other governments cease and
desist from their unacceptable assault on rights. Alberta Bill 9
must be withdrawn!
Picket against Bill 9 in Wetaskiwin, June 14, 2019.
The United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) has announced that
it will immediately launch a court appeal of a technical decision
issued June 5 by the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB). The ALRB
refused to hear UNA's application to quash an arbitrator's ruling that
arbitration of the wage re-opener in UNA's Collective Agreement can be
delayed beyond the date stipulated in the Agreement. The ALRB said it
did not have legal jurisdiction to consider UNA's application and that
UNA would have to seek judicial review through the courts.
UNA President Heather Smith speaking to media in
the rotunda of the Alberta
legislature after Bill 9 was introduced.
"We are filing with the courts immediately," UNA Labour
Relations Director David Harrigan said. "Realistically, though, it's
unlikely this would be heard by a court for more than a year, making a
mockery of attempts to uphold the terms of our legal contract."
Harrigan said that while arbitration is scheduled to go
ahead on July 2, 3, and 8, UNA expects that Alberta Health Services
(AHS) will request further postponements. "Given the blatant way the
terms of our collective agreement and the Charter rights of nurses are
being ignored, UNA members will now be reconsidering their union's
to negotiations," Harrigan stated. "Our legal team is reviewing all
legal options," he said. "Our leadership and membership will have to
consider if other options will also be necessary."
Harrigan pointed out that the Alberta government's
actions follow a pattern in which governments pretend to consult, "and
then legislate salary reductions, freezes or limits on increases,
rather than negotiating or arbitrating. This has happened in Nova
Scotia, Manitoba and most recently in Ontario. We believe this is a
violation of the Charter,
but it still takes years to fight it in the courts."
The collective agreement
sets very specific dates for arbitration of a wage re-opener, Harrigan
said. Negotiations would have begun on February 15 and proceeded to
arbitration if no agreement was reached by March 31. The arbitration
had to be held no later than June 30. UNA and AHS agreed to conduct
negotiations on May 13 and 17, but
the Kenney government intervened and instructed AHS to postpone
Harrigan explained: "The government stated it wants the
recommendations of its 'Blue Ribbon Panel' to be considered. The chair
of the Blue Ribbon Panel last year issued a report recommending
'consultations' with unions followed by legislation effecting rollbacks
to salary. After UNA did not agree to the delay, AHS requested a
call with the arbitrator. AHS asked the arbitrator to delay the hearing
sine die (without
a scheduled date). The arbitrator agreed to postpone
the hearing and ruled the hearing be postponed beyond the June 30 date.
He ruled the hearing would take place July, 2 or 3, and 8 -- but
specifically ruled that either party may request further
"Because this clearly amended our collective agreement,
we filed at the [ALRB], requesting the arbitrator's decision be quashed
and the hearing take place before June 30."
Both the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and the Alberta
Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) signed three-year collective
agreements in 2017 with a wage freeze in the first two years and a
wage-reopener in 2019. The collective agreements require that if a
negotiated settlement of the wage re-opener has not been reached by
2019, then the matter would proceed to arbitration which must take
place before June 30, 2019. Other unions signed similar provisions. The
Alberta Teachers' Association signed a collective agreement shortly
before the provincial election which provides for arbitration on wages
for their two year contract.
Prior to introducing Bill 9, the Kenney government
directed Alberta Health Services (AHS) to "postpone" the scheduled
arbitration with UNA indefinitely. The government made the same request
of the arbitrator selected for the AUPE arbitration. In UNA's case, the
arbitrator refused an indefinite postponement, but agreed to new dates
June 30, in violation of the terms of the collective agreement, and
stated that a party could seek a further postponement. According to the
Alberta Labour Code, an arbitrator cannot alter the
terms of a collective agreement. UNA launched a challenge at the
Alberta Labour Relations Board, which declined to hear UNA's
application in a
technical decision that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the matter
and that UNA must seek a judicial review. The arbitrator in AUPE's
arbitration heard arguments from the government and the union, and
issued a decision that the arbitration would proceed, and the
government's request for a postponement would be denied. The government
moved quickly to introduce Bill 9.
The Kenney government has appointed a Blue Ribbon Panel
on Alberta's finances, whose members were chosen to reach
pre-determined conclusions. The Chair of the panel, Janice McKinnon, is
a former NDP finance minister from Saskatchewan, notorious for closing
54 hospitals in Saskatchewan. In 2017, McKinnon co-authored an article
directed at the then NDP government calling for public sector wages to
be cut and then frozen. The authors laid out how the government should
proceed, including holding consultations with unions with an aim to
claim it has participated in a process of collective bargaining and
therefore is not in violation of the Charter
right of collective
bargaining. The sham consultations would be followed by legislation.
Such a process is concocted and in contempt of the meaning of the Charter
right to collective bargaining.
Lockout of Aluminum Workers in Becancour,
United Steelworkers announce the filing of a complaint with the
International Labour Organization against the Quebec government at
press conference, June 10, 2019.
The Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel has now locked out the ABI
workers for 17 months with the active collusion of the Quebec
government. At a press conference on June 10, the United Steelworkers
announced the filing of a complaint with the International Labour
Organization (ILO) against the Quebec government for its role in
lockout and denying the right of ABI workers, members of USW Local
9700, to negotiate collectively the terms of their employment. The
complaint was filed with the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association.
The USW alleges that through his public statements from
April to early June, Quebec Premier Francois Legault used the power of
his office to give considerable advantage to the owners' cartel over
the workers. Legault has openly sided with the Alcoa cartel against the
right of workers to negotiate a new collective agreement. The USW
alleges the Premier has made false statements about the nature of the
dispute, blames the workers for the lockout, and suggests USW Local
9700 with what he calls "unreasonable demands" may force the Alcoa
global cartel to close the smelter for good.
The USW says the Premier's intervention on the side of
the global cartel violates the government's obligations related to the
ABI workers' right to freedom of association and the recognition of
their right to collective bargaining. With its evidence of the
government's words and actions, the union presented its complaint to
the ILO. The USW
says the Government of Quebec is in violation of the ILO convention and
declarations that recognize freedom of association, basic labour rights
and the principles that must guide multinational enterprises,
governments and workers in the countries where these companies operate.
The USW is asking the
Committee on Freedom of Association and the ILO's Governing Body to
declare that the Government of Quebec, through the Premier's public
statements, has violated the convention and declarations. The USW is
asking that the ILO demand the government withdraw its declarations
against the workers and to respect
freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The
union also requests that the ILO tell the Quebec government to refrain
from any intervention that could hinder the legitimate activities in
defence of USW Local 9700's interests. The USW demands that the
government allow the union to freely and with equal opportunity
for the working conditions of unionized ABI workers without pressure or
action to discredit them.
The ILO, founded in 1919, is a tripartite agency of the
United Nations that brings together representatives of governments,
employers and workers from 187 countries. Its mandate is to set
international standards, develop policies, and devise programs
promoting decent work for all workers around the world. The Committee
on Freedom of
Association, established in 1951, has the mandate to examine complaints
about violations of freedom of association. The committee is itself a
tripartite body composed of a chairperson and three representatives
each from governments, employers and workers. The committee has the
power to make recommendations. Its decisions are not binding on
The United Steelworkers union has filed a complaint
against the Government of Quebec for violating the International Labour
Organization's Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of
the Right to Organize (1948), the Declaration on Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work (1998), as well as the Tripartite Declaration of
Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy
The complaint concerns the
public statements of Quebec Premier François Legault between
April 1 and June 3, 2019. The union explains that ABI management broke
off talks with the union in December 2017, presented it with a final
and comprehensive offer and then locked out workers on January 11, 2018
when workers rejected the offer.
It says that since that time ABI management has reneged on everything
previously agreed to at the bargaining table and has made offers that
are worse than the original offer demanding new concessions.
In the context of the prolonged lockout and Alcoa's
refusal to negotiate, the USW called on the government to intervene so
that negotiations could resume and be conducted in good faith. The
Premier met with both parties separately on April 1, 2019, two days
before negotiations were to resume.
Immediately following those meetings, Quebec Premier
Legault publicly denounced the union and accused it of making
unreasonable demands. These unjustified statements have had the effect
of covering up the fact that the ABI Alcoa/Rio Tinto global cartel is
making unreasonable demands on all aspects of the lives of the workers
aluminum smelter and those who are retired.
Following Legault's outburst against the union, as
expected, ABI management went to the bargaining table only to reject
the counter-proposal of the union without any discussion. Since then
the company has refused to negotiate or talk with the union to this day.
The Quebec Premier's Derogatory Statements
The Quebec Premier made derogatory statements against
the union nine times in two months both to the media and in the Quebec
National Assembly. He explicitly said that union members are overpaid
and that the demands of the workers could force management to close
the smelter and workers would be to blame for the closure. This
contradicts the truth of the situation where the only demands on the
table and subject to discussion do not concern wages but the ABI
cartel's demands for concessions from workers on other important
Legault also interfered through his public suggestion
that workers should willingly accept wage cuts to lower "production
costs" at the smelter. In reality, Legault's demand for a wage cut
would have no effect on the actual price of production of product at
the smelter but would directly mean greater profits for the global
cartel and a direct loss for the workers and their community.
The Phoney Force
The union contends the
Premier's words have greatly added to the power imbalance between the
global company and the workers. This imbalance is already heavily
weighted in favour of the company by virtue of the fact that Alcoa is
not paying for the block of electricity reserved for it by
Hydro-Québec at a preferential rate. The Quebec
government accepts the company argument that the lockout, initiated and
completely controlled by the actions of the company, constitutes a force majeure beyond the company's
control thus releasing Alcoa from its obligations under its energy
contract with Hydro-Québec and the government.
According to the United Steelworkers, the Premier's
public statements on top of the exemption from Alcoa's obligation to
pay for its contracted block of electricity from Hydro-Québec
constitute a violation of freedom of association and of the right to
free collective bargaining.
ILO Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection
of the Right to Organize
The USW specifically refers to the ILO
Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to
Organize. Article 11 of the Convention states:
"Each Member of the International Labour Organisation
for which this Convention is in force undertakes to take all necessary
and appropriate measures to ensure that workers and employers may
exercise freely the right to organise."
The United Steelworkers argues that the exercise of the
right to organize includes the right to engage in lawful advocacy,
without pressure, intimidation, harassment, threat or action to
discredit them, which has been violated by the Premier's public
Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights
The USW also refers to the Declaration on Fundamental
Principles and Rights at Work. The declaration states among other
things that ILO members "have an obligation arising from the very fact
of membership in the Organization to respect, to promote and to
realize, in good faith and in accordance with the Constitution, the
concerning the fundamental rights which are the subject of those
Conventions, namely: (a) freedom of association and the effective
recognition of the right to collective bargaining."
The declaration states, "In seeking to maintain the
link between social progress and economic growth, the guarantee of
fundamental principles and rights at work is of particular significance
in that it enables the persons concerned, to claim freely and on the
basis of equality of opportunity, their fair share of the wealth which
they have helped
to generate, and to achieve fully their human potential."
Clearly, according to the United Steelworkers, the
lockout and the actions of the government have violated the right of
ABI workers to collective bargaining and equality of opportunity.
Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning
Enterprises and Social Policy
The USW in conclusion refers to the Tripartite
Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and
Social Policy, which states in part: "Multinational enterprises, in the
context of bona fide negotiations with the workers' representatives on
conditions of employment, or while workers are exercising the right to
not threaten to utilize a capacity to transfer the whole or part of an
operating unit from the country concerned in order to influence
unfairly those negotiations or to hinder the exercise of the right to
The United Steelworkers argues that even though Alcoa
has not in so many words threatened to move its operation out of the
country, the Quebec government did so on its behalf. The Premier
threatened the ABI workers by saying they risk "losing everything" if
they do not agree to concessions. By refusing concessions and a lower
the value they produce, the Premier suggests workers themselves would
be responsible for the community suffering a great loss by forcing
Alcoa to close the smelter and move production to one of its other
On the basis of the totality of its arguments, the
United Steelworkers concludes that the Quebec government has impeded
the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right
to collective bargaining, a violation of the ILO Conventions, and that
the ILO must ask the Quebec government to stop acting in this way.
5,000 people marched through the streets of downtown
Trois-Rivières in solidarity with the locked-out ABI workers on
May 25, 2019.
dismissed the formal complaint against the government filed by the
United Steelworkers to the ILO and again slandered the ABI workers as
overpaid. Meanwhile, in what sounded like a "good cop, bad cop"
routine, his Labour Minister said that while workers have the right to
make formal complaints such as they have done at the ILO, they must
understand that Legault's comments about the dispute come from his
concern for the economy, and that he is the Premier of the economy.
problem for Quebec
society that workers are being deprived of a way to settle their
dispute with a global cartel in a way that respects their dignity,
well-being and rights. The actions of the Alcoa cartel and government
have caused the situation where workers have to resort to complaints to
a United Nations' labour relations body.
him into a flurry
of attacks against "those guys who earn $90,000 a year." This uncouth
behaviour only brings shame on him and his government ministers. Their
dismissive words and actions regarding the real problems of labour
relations and the defence of workers' rights when workers face such
powerful global empires as Alcoa/Rio Tinto bring the government into
disrepute and call into question its ability to govern on behalf of its
union leaders on May
Day, in which he said workers had better settle for jobs at $75,000 to
keep them rather than jobs at $90,000 that are bound to be lost because
such wages make "production costs" uncompetitive compared to those
elsewhere. This comes from a man whom his Minister calls the Premier of
the economy. His so-called production costs are nothing but his and the
owners' self-centred outlook to demand more of the value of what
workers produce as enterprise profit and take it out of Quebec to the
detriment of workers, their communities and the Quebec economy.
that of the global
oligarchs who own and control the economy and not those who do the work
and produce the social product. His viewpoint on the modern economy is
that of the global financial oligarchy, which could care less about the
people, their jobs, well-being and the social and natural environment
but only about receiving the highest return on their investment. The
backward viewpoint of the rich oligarchs needs regulation, restriction
and continuous organized struggle of the working people for otherwise
it runs amuck causing great problems for the people and economy.
"well paid jobs" bad versus
"not so well paid jobs" good. This position forms part of the
anti-social "open for business" mantra of the financial oligarchy right
across Canada. The aim of this outlook is not to have business
investment that develops the economy to benefit all in a socially
responsible manner but to open the country to exploitation of its human
and material resources in violation of the interests and rights of all.
Pitting workers in
one country or region against those in another country or region is now
commonplace with the global cartels that own multiple production
facilities and businesses and possess immense social wealth and have
their representatives in government. They can move or threaten to move
their business and most facilities to wherever it suits their narrow
private interests. The organized working class and its practical
politics must constantly struggle to restrict the power of the
the world of intrigue,
collusion and contention of private global monopolies serving their own
private interests at the expense of the people and their societies. If
that economy of the financial oligarchy is not challenged and
restricted in its actions the results are destructive with recurring
crises and negation of the rights of all.
to provide a shield to
Alcoa's attacks on the workers, their communities and Quebec society,
and make it more difficult for ABI workers to defend their rights. To
the great credit of USW Local 9700 and its members they are bravely
persisting in their struggle for their rights. They are continuing to
mobilize support, including financial support, for their just struggle,
as well as sending representatives to meet workers across Quebec to
explain their fight and win the battle in the court of public opinion.
In a recent action on June 11, ABI workers organized a picket in
Bécancour, as Quebec Minister of the Economy Pierre Fitzgibbon
delivered a speech to the Chamber of Commerce. Workers had asked to
meet with him to discuss the impact of the lockout on workers and their
community to which the Minister initially agreed. Subsequently, he
cancelled the meeting in what is seen by many as a vindictive move
directed by the Legault government in response to the complaint the USW
filed with the ILO.
at ABI are
important for this specific fight against the Alcoa/Rio Tinto cartel
but also for the future as they establish bonds of militant solidarity
of workers in all sectors in defence of their dignity and rights.
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