CUPE passes emergency motion to fight bad legislation from Jason Kenney

CUPE passed an emergency resolution at our National Convention to use ‘all means necessary’ to fight Jason Kenney’s Bill 81. The bill makes it near impossible for unions to comment on public issues.

Alberta delegate Lee Ann Kalen called Bill 81 “Another tactic from Jason Kenney to silence unions.”  Appealing to delegates from other provinces, Kalen said “Alberta needs your support – because other conservative governments are taking note.”

CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill called Bill 81 “Yet another law curtailing free speech. The UCP is trying to shut down debate.”

Gill continued: “The UCP are going to fail. They are going to fail because things are changing in Alberta in ways I never thought possible. The union movement is getting stronger every day.”  “You can’t shut the union up. You can’t shut CUPE up.”

The motion was passed by 97% of delegates.



CUPE Alberta Division Executive endorses Candace Rennick for CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer

The CUPE Alberta Division Executive is proud to endorse Candace Rennick for CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer.

“Candace has spent her entire working life fighting for workers’ rights. She has walked the walk for decades and demonstrated a fierce dedication to the labour movement. She has a vision for a future where CUPE is an even stronger, more inclusive and diverse union. The CUPE Alberta Division Executive is proud to lend our support to Candace Rennick, who will help lead our organization into the next chapter,” said CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill.

Candace Rennick has served as the Secretary-Treasurer to CUPE Ontario for the last 11 years. In her role she has positioned CUPE Ontario to support a strong and effective fight back campaign against government austerity.  She has served on CUPE’s National Executive Board since 2003 and is a member of the Canadian Council of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“The CUPE Alberta Division Executive is confident that Candace will work in the best interests of all workers and their families,” said Gill.

The National Secretary-Treasurer election will take place at the CUPE National Convention, which will be held virtually November 23-26, 2021.

This endorsement is made on behalf of the CUPE Alberta Executive and does not represent the endorsement of individual CUPE locals.

CUPE Alberta recognizes and acknowledges the intergenerational trauma of Canada’s Indigenous communities. In recent years, Canadians have been coming to terms with the horror of what happened at residential schools, a truth that survivors and their families have always known. We share in the deep pain and anger of Canada’s Indigenous communities, and we recommit ourselves, today and every day, to the process of reconciliation.

September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, is an opportunity to reflect on the history of our country and the legacy of residential schools. The Alberta Government’s decision not to recognize the day is an attack on Indigenous communities and sends the wrong message to all Canadians. CUPE Alberta is observing the day and calling on the UCP government to step up as a true partner to Indigenous peoples.

The road to reconciliation is painful but we must walk it together: we must listen, learn, and take action to support the healing of our Indigenous communities. CUPE Alberta, with the support and guidance of the Alberta Aboriginal Council, will be taking a number of concrete steps that support the education, consultation and training of our members. Reconciliation is an essential component in solidarity building across Canada and we all have a role to play. We encourage all members to find opportunities to learn and reflect on our shared history as we work together to build a more equitable and inclusive society.

In solidarity,

Sherry Elliott
Senator, CUPE Alberta Aboriginal Council


Rory Gill
CUPE Alberta President

CUPE 4070 members ratify new contract with Swoop

CALGARY, Alberta- CUPE Flight Attendants working at Swoop, WestJet’s ultra low cost carrier, have signed off on their first collective bargaining agreement. Members voted today to ratify the tentative collective agreement reached in September. The five-year agreement includes wage improvements, and momentum towards industry-standard scheduling and pay rules.

“This is the first ever collective agreement for our membership at Swoop. Ratification of this deal is proof positive that certifying with CUPE has been instrumental in our members’ pursuit of fair working conditions,” said CUPE 4070 President Chris Rauenbusch. “Reaching this deal was not easy in light of the circumstances caused by the global pandemic. I’d like to thank both our union and our bargaining committee for working so hard to find a path forward despite the challenges of the past 18 months.”

CUPE represents over 200 Flight Attendants at Swoop. The parties have been engaged in collective bargaining towards a first union contract since February 2020.

CUPE also represents cabin crew at WestJet mainline and its subsidiary WestJet Encore.

Union leaders call on Jason Kenney to ask federal government for immediate assistance

“We’ve run out of staff. Kenney’s fourth wave is collapsing the system.” – Rory Gill, President, CUPE Alberta

EDMONTON – The leaders of Alberta’s largest health care unions are calling on Premier Jason Kenney to ask the federal government to immediately deploy the military, the Red Cross and all other available medical resources from across the country to assist the province’s overwhelmed hospitals.

Taken together, the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), represent more than 100,000 people working in Alberta’s health care system.

The presidents of all four unions say Alberta’s health care system is not just “on the verge” of collapse – they say it’s actually collapsing right in front of our eyes.

With that in mind, UNA President Heather Smith, AUPE President Guy Smith, HSAA President Mike Parker, CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill and the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan have sent a joint letter to Premier Kenney asking him to formally request help from the federal government.

There are recent precedents set for this kind of action. Just five months ago, in April 2021, three military medical units were deployed to support long term care facilities in Ontario as they were overwhelmed by the third wave of the pandemic. The federal government also paid for the Red Cross to be deployed and helped coordinate assistance from other provinces.

The letter says, “There are no more nurses in our province who can be deployed. There are no more paramedics. There are no more respiratory therapists. There are no more support staff. The tank is empty. The well is dry.” It concludes by reminding Premier Kenney of his constitutional responsibility as Premier to formally ask the federal government for assistance.

“They cannot act unless you ask them to act. So please, on behalf of our beleaguered members on the front-line of this crisis, and on behalf of all Albertans, we are officially asking you to request help from the federal government.”

“The Alberta government says they’ll continue to open up ICU beds as needed to deal with the fourth wave. But beds mean nothing without properly qualified staff. And there are simply no more experienced people to mobilize.” – Heather Smith, UNA President

“We represent some of the lowest paid and least recognized workers delivering care to Albertans through this crisis. They’re giving everything they can give, and then some. But the tank is empty, and they’re exhausted and demoralized. We can’t wait for the dust to settle from the federal election. We need help now.” – Guy Smith, AUPE President

“Our paramedics are overstretched and exhausted. There are no more respiratory therapists. Everyone is either working or sick. There are no more rabbits to pull out of the hat. That’s why we need our Premier to swallow his pride and ask the rest of Canada for help.” – Mike Parker, HSAA President

“We’ve run out of staff and we’ve run out of options. This fourth wave of the pandemic is collapsing our health care system. I think we should all call this wave of the pandemic the Kenney wave because he created it with his selfish and reckless ‘Open for Summer’ policies. In the coming weeks and months, we’re going to make sure he’s held accountable. But for now, Kenney needs to finally take responsibility for his failures and get more staff to the frontlines to protect Albertans. That’s why we are asking him to request the federal government to send in the military.” – Rory Gill, CUPE Alberta

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Swoop, CUPE Reach Tentative Agreement

If ratified, agreement will cover all remaining CUPE members represented at the WestJet Group of Companies

CALGARY, Alberta– CUPE and Swoop have reached a tentative first collective agreement for flight attendants at the ultra low cost carrier. CUPE Local 4070 represents approximately 200 flight attendants at Swoop.

CUPE has represented flight attendants at Swoop since June 2019. The parties have been engaged in collective bargaining towards a first union contract since February 2020.

CUPE Local 4070 President Chris Rauenbusch called this “a remarkable testament to the hard work of the union bargaining committee particularly during the worst crisis our industry has ever seen.” Rauenbusch noted that COVID-19 travel restrictions and layoffs made achieving this milestone “an absolutely monumental task.”

“In the past seven months, we have achieved agreements for our members with WestJet, WestJet Encore and now Swoop,” said Rauenbusch. “To achieve constructive agreements for all three bargaining units, especially during a pandemic is remarkable.”

“Having legally binding union contracts in place for the over 4,100 flight attendants at all three of the WestJet Group’s brands is a milestone of great significance,” commented Rauenbusch. “Though both sides bargained with tenacity, we believe Swoop management has demonstrated a commitment to building positive labour relations moving forward,” concluded Rauenbusch.

Rauenbusch said CUPE will conduct a ratification vote in September. The union will not release details of the tentative agreement until union members have voted on it.

“Our membership is proud that we’ve been able to provide a safe travel option to Canadians who travel throughout the pandemic,” said Rauenbusch. “With this agreement, we are positioned to continue proudly providing professional, safe flights well into the future for all travellers.”

CUPE Local 4070 represents all flight attendants across all three brands operated by the WestJet Group of Companies: WestJet mainline, WestJet Encore and Swoop.

Labour Day greetings from CUPE AB President Rory Gill

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we get ready to enjoy the last long weekend of the summer, it’s important to reflect on why we have Monday off. Labour Day is an opportunity to celebrate the gains and achievements made on behalf of workers over the years.

In Alberta, CUPE members have diligently stood together to improve conditions for working Albertans. Today we have higher wages and better benefits, as well as vastly safer and healthier workplaces. It is every worker’s right to a safe and healthy workplace.

But we can never take these things for granted. Today, our fair and safe working conditions are in jeopardy as Jason Kenney and the UCP threaten to legislate away the rights of workers, roll back wages, privatize public services and fundamentally redefine how governments serve their people.

We need to stand together against these anti-labour policies. When CUPE raises its collective voice to stand up for workers’ rights and a better life for everyone, it resonates in workplaces and communities across Alberta and Canada. We are the country’s largest labour union, and we are committed to our fight for a fairer and more equal world.

Together we can stand up to this government and its privatization agenda.

Thank you to all CUPE activists, leaders, and staff across Alberta, who fight tirelessly to make our jobs and our communities better. You show up and make a difference.

On behalf of CUPE Alberta, we wish you a very safe and happy Labour Day.

In solidarity,


Rory Gill

President, CUPE AB