A group of hospitality workers in the Alberta oil sands region are celebrating after winning a long-fought battle to become the newest members of UFCW Canada Local 401. Applying for certification to join the union over a year ago, the newest Local 401 members, who work for North Country Catering (NCC), kept strong while the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) took many months to dismiss a company challenge.
NCC operates several premium camp sites – for oil sands labourers, trades people and equipment operators – including the Joslyn Creek and Connacher Lodges where the newest Local 401 members work.
In its decision, the ALRB also allowed Local 401 representatives the ability to go to all NCC locations to explain the position and benefits of the union. Prior to the ALRB decision, Local 401 organizers were restricted access to individual NCC workers and their workplaces.
“The main reason for organizing the other NCC camps is to give all workers a voice and the power to create a union contract together,” says Local 401 President Douglas O’Halloran. “I believe that this will not only benefit the workers but also the company in helping them to improve the working conditions for their employees and stop the turnover that affects everyone.”
Local 401 also reports the recent ALRB decision sends a clear message to NCC and all employers in the Alberta oil sands that UFCW Canada is in the region to stay and, as the leading voice for workers, will fight to protect the fundamental right to organize and bargain collectively.
To find out more about Local 401 and its efforts in the oil sands and throughout Alberta, visit www.877gounion.ca.