CUPE AB calls on Jason Kenney to return to work and ensure schools are safe

EDMONTON, AB- CUPE Alberta is calling on Jason Kenney to return to work immediately and ensure students and workers are safe as they head back to class.

While COVID-19 case numbers grow province-wide, Premier Jason Kenney has been “on holidays” and hasn’t made a public statement since August 9. In the meantime, the premier has left school boards to individually decide how best to protect students. The boards must make these decisions without access to data or medical advice. This has led to confusion among boards and frustration for parents and workers.

“School boards are not medical bodies. They do not have the expertise or the information to responsibly manage the response to the pandemic and they shouldn’t be expected to. Alberta is the only jurisdiction in the country that is doing absolutely nothing to protect students and education workers. Jason Kenney insists the pandemic is over, even as numbers rise across the province. He has abandoned workers, parents and students and demonstrated that we are not a priority,” said CUPE Alberta General Vice-President North Lee-Ann Kalen.

Last year Alberta was facing just over 1000 active cases as school resumed. To protect students and education workers, masks were mandated and a cohort system was put in place. This year, there are nine times more active cases in the province and the UCP has not mandated any protective measures. CUPE is calling on the government to implement all of last year’s protection measures this year.

“The government needs to take responsibility for the health and safety of students and staff. This is a much more contagious variant. Closing your eyes and crossing your fingers is not an adequate mitigation strategy for Alberta schools. We need a leader to look carefully at the data and act responsibly to protect Albertans. It’s time for Jason Kenney to come back to work,” said Kalen.

CUPE Alberta represents 8,700 members who work in the education sector.

CUPE Alberta wishes Charles Fleury a happy retirement

On behalf of CUPE Alberta members, we’d like to thank CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury for his service and wish him a happy retirement.

Charles has been a CUPE member since 1982 when he started working for Hydro-Québec. He has spent decades fighting for equity for workers and has proven himself a strong leader locally, then provincially and finally at the national level.

Charles’ contributions to our movement have been significant; throughout his career he has demonstrated a commitment to building our communities and protecting our environment and our planet. He has fought against cuts and privatization, and campaigned for social justice, here at home and around the globe.

Though Charles is leaving his position with CUPE, we know he is not leaving the movement. We look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the picket lines and arm-in-arm as we fight for a better, fairer future for everyone.

Thank you, Charles, and we wish you all the best in your retirement.


CUPE 4070 members ratify first contract with WestJet Encore


CALGARY, Alberta — CUPE cabin crew members working at WestJet Encore, WestJet’s regional carrier, have signed off on their first collective bargaining agreement. Members voted today to ratify the tentative collective agreement reached in July. 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 WestJet Encore. 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 650 cabin crew at WestJet Encore. The parties have been engaged in collective bargaining towards a first union contract since November 2019.

CUPE also represents cabin crew at WestJet mainline and its subsidiary Swoop. Rauenbusch is hopeful that the ratification of agreements with two of three bargaining units at the WestJet Group of Companies will lead to a fair and productive tentative agreement for Swoop Members in the near term. Swoop negotiations continue and have been underway since December 2019.

Rallies for Public Health

On Friday, July 30, 2021,  Dr. Joe Vipond and other health care professionals in Alberta put out an urgent call for action to all Albertans to protect public health in our province. These healthcare professionals are extremely concerned that the announcement by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, that Alberta will cease asymptomatic testing, contact tracing and mandatory isolation for COVID-19 and its variants, will have a very negative effect on the public health of our province.

Since July 30, 2021, large numbers of Albertans have been rallying in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer to call on the Government of Alberta, led by Jason Kenney and the UCP, to rescind this reckless policy and adhere to the best practices set out by health organizations worldwide.

CUPE Alberta has been supporting these rallies and the Division is hoping that our Local Unions will also support this important grassroots effort to ensure that public health is protected in Alberta.  We are asking that Local Unions also support these rallies by promoting them to their members and asking them to attend.

The rallies are currently being held every day at noon:


Location: McDougall Centre, 455 Sixth Street SW, Calgary AB


Location: The Legislature, 10800 97 Ave NW, Edmonton AB

Red Deer:

Location:  The office of MLA Jason Stepan, 201-4327 54 Avenue, Red Deer AB.

If more sites are added, we will inform Local Unions right away.

For the future of Alberta’s health care system and the protection of our children and all Albertans, we hope you can support these rallies and help beat COVID and keep our province safe.

United Nurses of Alberta – Day of Action


The United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), are currently negotiating a new contract with Alberta Health Services and have been presented with a series of outrageous and devastating demands for concessions from the employer, including a retroactive pay rollback of three percent.

Our friends, sisters and brothers in UNA are standing strong in the face of this unprecedented attack and have called for a Day of Action on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, to show their strength and solidarity and demonstrate through rallies and information pickets that they will not be intimidated by Jason Kenney and the UCP.

CUPE Alberta is supporting this Day of Action and we are asking local unions in the province to promote these important events to their members and encourage them to attend if they are able. A list of actions across Alberta with times and locations are shown below.

Jason Kenney and the UCP are attacking the public sector at all levels in our province, and we need to come together to fight back and protect the people we serve each and every day.


Local 1 (Peter Lougheed Centre)

When: August 11 from 1400 to 1600
Where: Outside the Peter Lougheed Centre (3500 26 Ave NE, Calgary) on 26th Avenue outside of the Emergency Department.

Local 115 (Foothills Medical Centre)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1330
Where: Outside the Foothills Medical Centre (1403 29 St NW, Calgary) along 29 Street.
Contact: Kevin Champagne at

Local 121 (Rockyview General Hospital)

When: August 11 from 1100 to 1300
Where: Outside the Rockyview General Hospital (7007 14 St SW, Calgary) on the green space along 14 Street.
Contact: Marie Aitken at

Local 415 (South Health Campus)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1330
Where: Outside of South Health Campus



Local 11 (Misericordia Community Hospital)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1300
Where: Outside the Misercordia Community Hospital (16940 87 Ave NW, Edmonton)

Local 33 (Royal Alexandra Hospital)

When: August 11 from 1000 to 1400, speakers at 1200
Where: Outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital (10240 Kingsway NW, Edmonton) along Kingsway Avenue.
Contact: Lonee Rousseau at

Local 79 (Grey Nuns Community Hospital)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1330
Where: Outside the Grey Nuns Community Hospital (1100 Youville Drive NW, Edmonton)

Local 183 (Alberta Hospital Edmonton)

When: August 11 from 1200 to 1600
Where: Outside of Alberta Hospital Edmonton (17480 Fort Rd NW, Edmonton)

Local 301 (University Hospital, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute)

When: August 11 from 1100 to 1500
Where: Outside the University of Alberta Hospital (8440 112 St NW, Edmonton) along 112 Street.



Local 96 (Northern Lights Regional Health Center)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1300
Where: Outside of the Northern Lights Regional Health Center on 7 Hospital Street in Fort McMurray, from there they will be marching down Franklin Ave to MLA Tany Yao’s constituency office.



Local 162 (Northwestern Regional Health Authority – High Level (Community Nurses)/Fort Vermillion-High Level)

When: August 11 from 800 to 1630
Where: In front of the Northwest Health Centre (11202 100 Ave, High Level)
Contact: Robyn Dwyer at 780-841-3228



Local 17 (High Prairie Health Complex)

When: August 11 from 1100 to 1300
Where: The south side of the High Prairie Health Complex (5101 38 St, High Prairie)
Contact: Jan Robinson at 780-523-0765 or Rudy Valenzuela at 780-6050705



Local 120 (Chinook Regional Hospital)

When: August 11 from 1100 to 1300
Where: Outside the Chinook Regional Hospital (960 19 St S, Lethbridge) along 17 Street South



Local 70 (Medicine Hat Regional Hospital)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1330
Where: Along 6th Street outside the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital (666 5 St SW, Medicine Hat)



Local 2 (Red Deer Health Centre/Extendicare Michener) and Local 218 (Central Zone Community)

When: August 11 from 1130 to 1330
Where: Outside the Red Deer Regional hospital (3942 50a Ave, Red Deer)



Local 24 (St. Paul Health Centre)

When: August 11 from 1400 to 1800
Where: Outside the hospital (4713 48 Ave, St. Paul) and along main street in St. Paul.
Contact: Jillian Loe at 780-227-0313 or



Local 92 (WestView Health Centre)

When: August 11 from 800 to 1330
Where: Outside the WestView Health Centre (4405 S Park Dr, Stony Plain)
Contact: Heidi Kushnerek at



Local 31 (Ponoka Hospital & Care Centre) and Local 222 (Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury)

When: August 11 at 1600
Where: Park located across from the Rising Sun Clubhouse in Ponoka (5216 50 Street)



Local 73 (Westlock Health Care Centre and Westlock Continuing Care Centre)

When: August 10 starting at 1000
Where: Outside the east side of the Westlock Health Care Centre (10220 93 St, Westlock)



Local 149 (Whitecourt Healthcare Centre/Whitecourt Community)

When: August 11 from 1200 to 1400 and 1600 to 1800
Where: On the corner of Highway 43 and Hospital Road in Whitecourt.


CUPE and WestJet reach deal for staff at Encore

CALGARY – The Canadian Union of Public Employees and WestJet have reached a tentative agreement covering the 650 cabin crew at WestJet Encore. Encore is WestJet’s regional carrier with hubs in Calgary and Toronto.

Details of the agreement are not being released until CUPE members have an opportunity to review and vote on the proposal.  CUPE 4070 Vice President Jamie Loiselle said he was pleased with the deal, and that the union would be recommending acceptance.

CUPE represents about 4,000 flight attendants and cabin crew members at WestJet mainline, Encore and Swoop. There has been a collective agreement at the mainline since April and bargaining at Swoop continues for a first contract.

“It’s been a difficult year in the airline sector due to the pandemic, but we are starting to see things turn around,” said Loiselle. “Our flights are filling up, more staff are coming back from layoff, and we are hopeful that we will soon have collective agreements covering all our members at the three WestJet companies.”

The union expects ratification meetings to begin on August 7th.

Alpha House employees now part of CUPE

Labour board rules on objections, counts votes, employees vote yes

CALGARY – After multiple issues before the labour board, ballots were finally counted today, and 171 Alpha House employees voted 89% in favour of joining the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“Congratulations to the employees of Alpha House on joining Canada’s largest union,” said CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill.  “You now have the collective strength of over 700,000 CUPE members in your corner.”

Gill said this victory was particularly sweet as there have been numerous difficulties leading to today’s decision. Gill said those issues have been resolved, and he is looking forward to their full participation in CUPE Alberta.

“It’s never easy to form a union at your worksite,” said Gill. “We had some strong disagreements with Alpha House, but those disagreements have been resolved to the satisfaction of the employer, CUPE, and the affected employees.”

“And today, the ballots have been counted and the employees’ voices have been heard.”

Contractors to blame, not city waste collectors, for problems with new trash pick-up

EDMONTON – The President of the union representing city waste collectors is pointing the finger at a third party contractor for the lack of garbage collection at 13,000 Edmonton homes this week.

Many homes in the southwest end of the city did not have waste collected on their scheduled day last week as part of the city’s new cart rollout.

“Some news reports, and some citizens, have been pointing the finger at city workers, but that’s not fair or true,” said CUPE Local 30 President Eric Lewis.

“These carts were not collected because the contractor doesn’t know the work, doesn’t know the routes, and doesn’t know the city,” said Lewis. “If the city kept this work in-house, problems like this wouldn’t happen.”

Lewis said that while the problems with pick up will get sorted out in time, he expects further problems to pop up in the future.

“When you privatize services, you pay less and get shoddy service. Accountability is lowered, and residents end up grumpy and unhappy over and over.”

This year, Canada Day is complicated

Artwork by Nigel Fox









Canada Day is generally a time for Canadians to enjoy some good weather, a day off, and maybe a fireworks display.

If we’re being honest, most Canadians don’t spend July 1st thinking about our history in any deep way.

We might celebrate our wilderness, our health care system, and some of our more endearing symbols like the beaver or the moose.

But this Canada Day falls days after the grim discovery of a grave site of 761 children at a Saskatchewan residential school, and only weeks after a similar find at a Kamloops location.

Residential schools are places Indigenous children were taken after being forcibly ripped from their homes by Canadian governments. That alone is damaging enough. But now we are confronted with the fact thousands of children never returned home.

This was genocide. It meets the definition we apply to similar events elsewhere, and we have to start using that term.

This is not a problem of the past. This did not happen long ago. The Saskatchewan residential school in question only closed in 1996.

The victims of these schools live with us today. They live with painful memories, and they pass on that trauma to their own children and grandchildren.

We don’t need to forget about the things we like about Canada. But we need to make Canada a better place for everyone. That starts with reconciliation for aboriginal people.

One way you can help is by wearing orange today. Orange shirts have become the symbol of support for the survivors of residential schools. This simple act tells survivors that we see them and are trying to understand their struggle.

This Canada Day, let’s commit to the hard work needed to rebuild the Indigenous communities and lives shattered by residential schools. Let’s make Canada the country we want it to be, the country it should be, for all people living here.