Thursday, July 26, 2007

Threat to oilsands as unions OK strike

read full article: The National Post
In an environment of high wages and a bounty of job opportunities, Gil McGowan, Alberta Federation of Labour president, said the hearty strike vote and the fact unions overcame challenging regulatory thresholds to attain the mandate proves dissatisfaction runs deep. In Monday's results, refrigerator mechanics registered the lowest support, voting 85% in favour of striking, while boilermakers gave strongest approval at 99%.

"Given the number of hurdles that have been placed in front of construction unions, the fact that they've gotten to the point of actually conducting a strike vote and getting such a decisive mandate from their members is almost miraculous," he said. "It speaks to how strongly rank and file construction workers feel, that they haven't been treated fairly."

Construction strikes are extraordinary in Alberta, as provincial legislation forbids a union from holding a strike vote on its own; votes are legal only if a majority of unions within certain categories agree to band together for a joint plebiscite.

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