Alison Redford’s Leadership Win and Unions

One the funniest and most ignorant comments on Twitter about Alison Redford’s PC Leadership win last weekend has been coming from both the left and right side of the political spectrum – mainly, the idea that Alison won the election thanks to unions.

While it’s true that Redford met with the Alberta Teacher’s Association and promised to put $100 million back into Alberta classrooms within 10 days of being elected to office, she does not owe her win to organized labour.  Instead, she owes her win to teachers, parents, students, nurses, doctors, engineers, electricians, janitors and every other Albertans who gave her their vote – whether they work in a unionized environment or not.

Alison Redford’s campaign was focused on policies that matter to everyday Albertans.  She talked about increasing accessibility to Alberta’s public healthcare system and providing predictable and sustainable funding for education.  She had ideas about making Alberta a global energy capital, as well as thoughts on economic diversification and job creation.  She talked about those expensive cell phone charges that annoy Canadians to no end.

On the specific topic of labour and unions, Alison is on record several times indicating that she is fully aware that the Alberta Labour Code hasn’t been touched since 1988 and that she supports a review to ensure that Alberta’s labour market remains competitive relative to other provinces in Canada and jurisdictions around the world.

So I just can’t help but laugh when I see tweet like “#pcldr chosen by unions” from a known NDP supporter or “I can’t believe we have a ‘conservative’ Premier in Alberta that is now beholden to unions …”

Of course this is nothing more than filthy and meaningless political rhetoric from terrified opposition party supporters who know that Alison is one of the most intelligent and capable leaders the PC Party has ever elected.

However, Albertans need not be afraid.  While Alison Redford did win the election with the help of teachers, she is NOT beholden to unions.

Take if from David Climenhaga, the most hard core union sympathizer I have ever met, who said in a recent blog that:

…while it’s a fact Alberta labour leaders can’t usually deliver their members’ votes to anyone, union members are paying attention and labour votes matter anyways.  In other words, you can’t tell union members what to do, but they’ll figure it out for themselves.”

David is right – individual union members don’t blindly follow what union bosses tell them to do.  The fact that teachers may have supported Alison Redford’s leadership bid because she promised to put money back into classroom has nothing to do with the union itself.

In fact, I look forward to testing Mr. Climenhaga’s conclusion that “Alberta labour leaders can’t usually deliver their members’ votes anymore” when the Alberta government undertakes a labour code review.

Will individual union members run to the polls to take down a government that considers an idea such as eliminating the fines that a union can charge its members for working for a non-union company?  I doubt it.

Will individual union workers get fired up about potential amendments to the labour code that could allow them to opt-out of paying the portion of their union dues that go towards political causes they don’t want to support?  I can’t see that happening.

What about recommendations that would allow both union and non-union construction workers to work harmoniously and efficiently side-by-side on the same jobsite.  Do you really think union members will drop their tool belts and run to the polls to vote against the Party their hiring hall tells them is making them commit this atrocity?   I wouldn’t hold my breath on that ….

If Alison Redford is beholden to anyone its Albertans – she campaigned directly to them with policies that matter to their everyday lives.  I am confident that as long as Alison Redford continues to do what is right for individual Albertans and Alberta’s economy, she owes nothing to unions themselves.


4 thoughts on “Alison Redford’s Leadership Win and Unions

  1. Interesting blog. I too have heard many comments that suggest that Ms. Redford owes her win to Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) and United Nurses of Alberta (UNA). I can’t agree that that this talk is “nothing more than filthy and meaningless political rhetoric from terrified opposition party supporters” – after all it was the famously right wing Calgary Sun that claimed it was “special interest groups” like ATA and “female health-care workers” (I guess the SUN just could’t bring themselves to use that evil acronym UNA) that caused her win.

    The two unions most often mentioned didn’t order their members to vote in a certain way, and couldn’t have done so even if they wanted to. But they did inform their members of Ms. Redford’s stance on education and public health care. That likely caused many of their members to cast a vote for Ms. Redford. Their members also are aware that that Alison is one of the most intelligent and capable leaders the PC Party has ever elected.

    But they also know, or should know, that she is a Progressive Conservative, not a socialist or labour sympathizer, and talk of her being far left is nonsense

    Ms. Redford is in no way beholden to any unions, and I don’t think that any unions believe that she is. But you are incorrect when you say she owes nothing to unions. She owes unions what she owes all Albertans – the right to be recognized, to be heard, to have a government that – as you say -does what is right for individual Albertans and Alberta’s economy.

    For unions are nothing more – or less – than a collection of individual Albertans, acting together.

    Your attempts to demonize unions as some evil outside force will not fly, nor, one hopes, will your attempt to silence the left under the thinly disguised concept of “harmonizing” labour legislation. People will see through it, just as they saw through Mr. Mar’s thinly disguised attempt to return to the old private health care, third way approach to health care.

    I hope that Ms. Redford uses the same intelligent, no nonsense approach to labour legislation as she did with health care and education issues.

  2. Say what you have to….$107 M promised within 10 days (meaning none of that nasty issues like debate or how to pay for it get in the way).

    Bought and sold my friend, bought and sold.

  3. Well that’s very interesting in many ways because I was against Alison from the get go…until I watched the debate! Clearly Alison & Doug had it made in the shade…..why because they understand whats up in Alberta, they easy find the answers to question without notes…nice:) Unions don’t make it happen the people do and always have. You think because my union President tells me to vote a certain way I will…not a chance, nor will the rest of the self thinking membership….only the clowns of that system would comply.
    Anyway Alison got my vote because I decided she would best provide for my individual goals & future…that it!!

  4. Yes of course
    the knee-JERK reaction of any compassion or understanding of health care or education by the extreme right will be over the top fear mongering.
    Yes of course a big oil mouthpiece, slum-landlord union busting coward will have distorted and ignorant views on extreme right shift of labour rules to tax-paying citizens.
    Yes of course big oil and the scams of clac and merit want to bribe union workers into making money for them by running their jobs that employ unskilled labourers. Then you see nothing wrong by prohibiting a union from fining its own members for screwing its signatory contractors. So a big oil mouthpiece scumbag coward who hides his name promotes and gives oral sex for money to his boss and also decides to be a mouth piece promoter and give oral sex to his previous – lets say – berit shop boss for money. His current employer for which he signed on for does not like this one bit and decides to fire him. Yes of course the mouthpiece can service the one he works for but he must end servicing other employers that are in direct competition .

    You don’t like that.

    The construction competitive coalition gets together. gives money and lobbies the government and says that – of course – no one else can get together, give money and lobby the government.
    Yes of course big oil and big business can lobby and do back room deals with government.
    You say that individual members in a democratic union should not be allowed to democratically decide to lobby government on issues that effect their livelihood. Yes of course you do not see the hypocrisy in that.
    Brent Pollock – no I’m not a coward.
    Born in Alberta.

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