Calgary – May 2, 2015 – UFCW Canada Local 401 and Local 1118 activists recently joined other labour activists from across the province for the 2015 Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) Convention. From April 16-19, the AFL welcomed guests and speakers from around the world, speaking on a number of subjects including China's fledgling labour movement, Norway's oil industry, and the movement of labour through guest worker programs — and bringing the subjects home to how they impact Albertans.
Resolutions were debated and passed on subjects ranging from worker training, to youth internships, to indigenous rights, and Canadian politics. "The debates have been feisty, intelligent, passionate, and will help inform the Federation of Labour's priorities for the next two years," said Gil McGowan, the president of the AFL.
Brother Albert Johnson, UFCW Canada Local 1118's former long-time president was honoured posthumously at this year's convention with the May Day Award. In an emotion-packed speech about brother Johnson, Local 1118 President Peter Frost talked about Albert's many accomplishments after becoming President of the local when he was just 24. From growing UFCW Canada Local 1118 from 400 members to over 5000, to assisting countless vulnerable workers living within the tumult of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, Albert was fondly remembered and celebrated.
In keeping with brother Johnson's concerns about the TFW Program, AFL President McGowan also had harsh words for Harper and his government's misuse and mismanagement of the program. "Canada is a country that was built by immigrants who came," said McGowan. "But what happened when Harper took over in 2006? They began building it by exploiting precarious guest workers."