CUPE researcher elected in Alberta

Ricardo MirandaCALGARY – The ‘Orange Chinook’ that washed over Alberta on May 5th included the election of CUPE Research Representative Ricardo Miranda as MLA for the riding of Calgary Cross.

Miranda was one of 54 NDP MLAs elected as part of Rachel Notley’s surprise victory in the Alberta provincial election.  Miranda won a squeaker, defeating PC star candidate, and former Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson by only 100 votes.

Previously considered Canada’s most conservative province, Albertans surprised pundits defeating a 44 year old government and electing a Premier and party committed to better health and education funding, fighting climate change, a higher minimum wage and a review of the provinces energy royalty system.

A parent of two, Miranda worked as a flight attendant with Air Canada for 15 years, serving as President of CUPE 4095, joining CUPE’s staff in 2012. With CUPE, he worked as a National Representative, researcher and as an organizer, helping to bring employees into the CUPE family.

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CUPE Alberta welcomes government announcement on education funding

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts today said the NDP government’s education funding announcement is good news for students, their families, and workers.

“With 12,000 new kids entering the system in the fall, we need this additional funding,” Roberts said. “This will ensure we have well-maintained schools, with the support students need.”

Under the previous government, boards were ordered to cut their budgets, Roberts said. Boards were also told no new provincial funding would be available for the next three years, despite Alberta’s soaring enrolments.

“The previous government cut the amount of funding available to be spent on each student,” Roberts said. “This would have meant increased class sizes, more portable classrooms, program and staff cuts, less money on maintenance and student support – it would have been a disaster for students, for the learning environment, and for Alberta’s investment in our future.”

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CUPE Alberta thanks Premier-designate Rachel Notley for extending school board budgets

Canadian Union of Public Employees Alberta President Marle Roberts today thanked Premier-designate Rachel Notley for keeping a campaign promise to support Alberta’s education system.

“By extending the deadlines for school boards to submit their annual budgets, the provincial government has provided critical breathing space for boards to prepare for the thousands of new students coming into our system,” Roberts said. “We are pleased to see the Premier-designate take this matter seriously and respond to it as a priority.”

With more than 12,000 new students entering the system this fall, school boards have been scrambling to figure out how to supply the classroom space, teachers, and support staff necessary. The Calgary Board of Education contemplated reducing its cleaning operations, legal services, and other supports to manage the shortfalls. We have seen cut backs of support staff in many schools all across this Province.

“It’s obvious to Albertans that we need to inject more funding into our schools,” Roberts said.

“I am very happy that Premier-designate Notley is keeping her campaign promise to make this happen.”

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CUPE Alberta President congratulates Premier-elect Rachel Notley

Alberta Division President Marle Roberts today congratulated Premier-elect Rachel Notley and her new caucus on their ground-breaking victory in Alberta.Marle Roberts

“I am thrilled that Albertans chose a government which supports public health care and education, strong and sustainable municipalities, and fair treatment for workers,” Roberts said.

“And I am excited that 26 of the 53 MLAs elected to the government caucus are women, the highest percentage of any government in the country,” Roberts said.

The PC government, first elected four years before Richard Nixon resigned as President of the US, had entered the election with a budget that slashed health services, failed to provide schools or staff for the increasing numbers of students this year, and threatened to erode the social fabric of the province through cuts. They also threatened to bring in regressive essential services legislation and anti-labour bargaining tactics.

“We look forward to working with a government that cares about the same things Alberta’s working families care about,” Roberts said. “Fairness, respect, accountability, and justice.”

CUPE Alberta President statement on the death of City of Edmonton worker

CUPE Alberta President: Death of City of Edmonton worker affects us all

CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts today said workers across the province are grieving after the death of a City employee and CUPE Local 30 member from an accident last week.

“I join with my union brothers and sisters across Alberta in offering our deepest condolences to this young worker’s family, and to his friends and co-workers,” she said.

“When one of us is hurt, we all feel the loss,” Roberts said. “We all pause and think about the times we’ve had near accidents, and about how our families would be affected.”

Roberts pointed out that April 28 was the International Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

“We gathered this week to remember those we’ve lost over the past year,” Roberts said. “We also recognized the importance of improving workplace safety. It’s said that workplace accidents are almost always preventable, so it’s especially tragic when they still happen”.

“We have lost a friend, a brother, a worker, and a valuable member of our community. We are diminished by our loss,” Roberts said.




City mourns loss of City of Edmonton worker

Members of CUPE Local 30, representing City of Edmonton workers, are deeply moved by the loss of a colleague and friend who died today from injuries sustained in a workplace accident last week.

“We are shaken and saddened,” Local 30 President Mike Scott said. “Our thoughts are with his family today.”

Scott said this is the second workplace death in the past 12 months. Earlier this year, city worker Harl Hawley passed away suddenly while working at the Grand Trunk Recreational Centre.

“An injury to one is an injury to all,” Scott said. “We must never take safety for granted, and this tragedy reminds us all of the importance of choosing safety over convenience.”

“We will be working with the roadways department to ensure another accident like this will never happen again,” Scott said.

“Today is a sad day for workers across the city and across our province,” Scott said


Statement from CUPE Alberta President for the National Day of Mourning – April 28

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.



Canadian Union of Public Employees Alberta Speaks Out Against C-51

 (April 18, 2015) Canadians attending rallies in Calgary and Edmonton to protest Bill C-51 – the federal government’s new “security” law – heard from CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts and Treasurer Glynnis Lieb.

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees believes in democratic rights to free speechCUPE Alberta Speaks Out Against C-51 and to assembly,” Roberts said at the Calgary rally. “C-51 threatens to paint anyone who opposes this repressive government as a terrorist, with the aim of scaring people away from dissent.”

Speaking in Edmonton, Lieb said the law would allow government agencies like the health department to share personal information with the RCMP.

“Your financial records, your health records – they all become fodder for government agents,” Lieb said. “What was once considered to be the stuff of conspiracy theories is IMG_20150418_125805745becoming the law of the land in Canada.”

Public support for C-51 has dropped to less than 33 per cent across Canada, as citizens learn more about the bill and its impacts.

“So far, only the NDP is opposing this bill in the House of Commons,” Roberts said. “We’re calling on CUPE members to write their MPs and call on them to kill this legislation.”

“C-51 must be stopped,” Roberts said.



AFL Resolution 902 – Fort McMurray International Airport Out-sourcing Jobs to Temporary Foreign Workers

Resolution No. 902 – Fort McMurray International Airport Out-sourcing Jobs to   Temporary Foreign Workers

The Alberta Federation of Labour will support CUPE in opposing the outsourcing of unionized custodial and security jobs at the Fort McMurray International Airport Authority to contractors who use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to make low-ball bids based on below-poverty-line wages.

The Alberta Federation of Labour will work with affiliate and non-affiliate unions to devise and implement a protest strategy aimed at convincing the Fort McMurray International Airport authority to reverse its decision on contracting out.

Because the unemployment rate in the Fort McMurray area has almost doubled in the past six months and the use of Temporary Foreign workers in most positions can no longer be justified.

Because the company hiring the guest workers from the TFWP is offering $14.50/hour, which is far below the cost of living in Fort McMurray.

Because low energy prices will result in many Canadians and landed immigrants losing jobs in the energy sector and related industries, especially in Fort McMurray.

Because there are questions as to whether Temporary Foreign Workers can obtain the necessary security clearances.

Because the TFWP should not be used to displace working Canadians or permanent residents.

Because the TFWP exploits workers by tying them to employers and denying them full labour-market mobility.

Because Canada needs real immigration, not an exploitive guest worker program.

Adopted unanimously by delegates to the AFL Convention, April 18, 2015


Dirtier schools, reductions in services and support: Calgary Board of Ed response to provincial budget

Is this where we want to send our kids?” asks CUPE 

The Calgary Board of Education’s budget assumptions report will result in 2nd class schools, CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts said today.

“From lower standards of cleanliness to limits on communications, services, and support, this report draws a very unattractive picture of where our schools are going,” Roberts said. “Is this really where we want to send our kids?”

Roberts was responding to a CBE report, “Budget Assumptions Report 2015-2018” that was tabled at the Board meeting yesterday.

The report is a response to the recent provincial budget. Among the report’s 22 recommendations are:

  • Cleanliness for CBE facilities will be reduced below current standards
  • The number of single custodian schools will increase
  • Communication services…will be reduced
  • Administrative supports and services will be reduced.

CUPE Local 40 President Bob Anderson, who represents CBE custodial staff, said the reduction in cleanliness will have a long-term impact on schools and shorten facilities’ lifespan.

“We saw three classrooms closed due to mould last year, and we’ll see more mould without constant care and monitoring,” Anderson said. “The province and the CBE can’t keep cutting back on infrastructure cleaning and maintenance.”

“It’s the death-of-a-thousand-cuts for our schools,” Anderson said.

Roberts said the issue begins with the provincial budget tabled last month.

“The Premier froze the education budget despite 2,500 new students coming in to the CBE this year alone,” Roberts said. “It’s a budget that doesn’t care about kids, and doesn’t care about the workers who support them in school every day.”

“Parents need to let the Province and the CBE know: we won’t accept 2nd class schools and we won’t accept this budget plan!”


For information or interviews, please contact:

David Loan, CUPE Alberta Communications Representative,

(o)  780.484.7644 or (c)  613.301.7468

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