Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Alberta unions to Stelmach:

Blow it out your ass:

CALGARY - A provincewide labour battle is brewing after some of Alberta's largest public sector unions rejected Premier Ed Stelmach's call for a two-year voluntary wage freeze.

  • The Health Sciences Association of Alberta, which represents 18,000 medical workers such as lab technicians and paramedics: "Why do they feel . . . it's in their ability and it's all right to even suggest breaking this contract? It's not OK."

  • Alberta Teachers' Association president Carol Henderson: "We have an agreement," said Henderson. "We signed it in good faith and we intend to be in the classroom. When it comes down to it, is it a deal or is it a deal?" Henderson was a Grade 3 teacher in the 1990s when the then-Klein government asked public sector workers, including teachers, to accept a five per cent wage reduction to preserve jobs. But the province went ahead with layoffs anyway.

  • Dennis Mol, president of the Alberta branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees: "This is a continued attack on the worker. They talk about having all these rainy-day funds . . . well it's beyond raining now. It's a snowstorm. But the government doesn't want to use them," said Mol.

  • Alberta Union of Provincial Employees president Doug Knight: Knight is frustrated the premier used his television address to negotiate in the media instead of at the bargaining table. If Stelmach truly wants to share the pain of Alberta's fiscal crisis he should be rolling back all of his recent 34 per cent raise, not just the portion he announced Thursday, Knight said.

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