Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
I am pleased to share with you CUPE Alberta’s pre-budget submissions for the historic 2015 provincial budget, the first to be brought down by the new NDP government.
In the few short months that Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP have been in power, they have already brought forward substantial and progressive legislation. We commend them for moving so quickly to enact real change that brings more fairness in Alberta’s highly regressive taxation system, increases the minimum wage and reduces user fees for public services. We applaud these and other swift changes that show the NDP government understands and values the importance of dignity in all workplaces.
Still, there is much more to be done during these difficult economic times. CUPE Alberta’s position is that the government can deal with its deficit while still having room to increase investment in quality public services. Specifically, our budget recommendations include:
- Implementing major initiatives from the NDP platform, including a greater public investment in child care and increasing supports to the Family and Community Support Services. This is also a good time to call a commission to look at how to phase-out coal-generated electricity while investing more in green energy. CUPE specifically recommends the commission include the principle of Just Transition, to make sure workers and communities dependent on these legacy industries are treated properly.
- Create jobs by investing in government services, infrastructure, child care and public education.
- Adopt buy-local policies for procurement around infrastructure development and maintenance, and adopt an Alberta First policy for purchase of government supplies and food.
- Invest in infrastructure renewal across towns and cities in the province suffering from years of deferred maintenance under previous governments.
- Renew the province’s rural broadband strategy, audit the current Public-Private Partnership infrastructure programs and engage in a comprehensive review of tax expenditures and loopholes.
Please read our full submissions and recommendations below.
Statement from CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts for the
National Day of Mourning on April 28th
The Canadian Union of Public Employees established the first National Day of Mourning in 1984. We did so to remember those brothers and sisters killed or injured on the job and to dedicate ourselves to fighting for safer work environments.
CUPE’s idea was quickly adopted by the Canadian Labour Congress and by other unions, and is now recognized in over 80 countries world-wide.
Today, we remember our own.
CUPE 4946 member Dellis Partridge was killed at work during his first shift as a bus driver with the Peace River School Division.
CUPE 30 member Harl Hawley, a pool service employee with the City of Edmonton, passed away suddenly while working at the Grand Trunk Recreational Centre.
Our thoughts are with their families, friends, and co-workers today.
Just last week, another CUPE 30 member was badly injured while unloading a City of Edmonton dump truck. His condition is still critical, and we hope his recovery is successful.
With these members in mind, we renew our commitment to our right to health and safety and to respect on the job.
The National Day of Mourning was born of the values of the union movement, to mourn the dead and the sick and the injured.
But let us fight, too, for the living. Let us fight for safe workplaces. Every day.
Today’s provincial budget chips away at the incomes of hard-working public employees and their families while failing to increase revenues through progressive taxation, CUPE Alberta Treasurer Glynnis Lieb said.
“The Premier is picking the pockets of public workers,” Lieb said. “Demanding wage concessions while eliminating health care tax cost-sharing means less money for our kids’ after-school activities and less money for groceries and rent.”
“Once again, the Conservative government attacked middle class workers instead of looking to wealthy Albertans and corporations for their fair share of tax revenues,” she said.
“And cutting almost 1700 health care jobs means more stress on already over-worked employees and longer wait times for all,” Lieb said.
CUPE Alberta has called on the province to replace its flat tax with a progressive tax system and increase resource royalties and corporate taxes.
The budget falsely claimed Alberta public services cost more than other provinces.
“This is simply not true,” Lieb said. “Alberta falls below the national average when it comes to how much we spend on public services, on a per person basis.”
“And as a portion of our overall economy, Alberta spends LESS than any other province,” she said.
Lieb said that CUPE Alberta will consult with their members on how to respond to the budget.
“Unlike the Premier, we’ll listen to what our members have to say,” she said.
“One thing is for sure: we’ll tell our members that they have to get out and vote,” Lieb said.
CUPE Alberta represents 34,000 public workers in education, health care, government services, municipalities and other workplaces.
Contact: David Loan c: (613) 301-7468 o: (780) 484-7644
“Water is a precious public resource that must be kept public and protected,” CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts said in honour of World Water Day, taking place Sunday March 22. … Read more…