Monday, August 13, 2007

Alberta labour flexes its muscle

3 page article: Financial Post Organized labour within the province's construction sector may be a shell of its former self, but the stakes are higher than they ever were in the early 1980s.

This time it's not office towers that are exposed to being toppled, figuratively, by an extended job action or surging labour costs but a $100-billion oilsands sector that is already feeling the pinch from cost increases in areas other than labour.

Mr. Payne and his union brethren make no bones about the fact they have fixed their eyes on the oilsands and US$70 oil as a way to reclaim ground that was lost as oil prices fell in the mid-80's bust.

"We're standing here in a position to right history," he says, seated in a tiny cafe near the carpenters and joiners' headquarters on the fringes of downtown Calgary, describing the psyche within his union of 6,000 -- or at least among those carpenters who have long memories. He says there are many who do remember the hard times, just as there are many cognizant of Alberta's present-day economic status.

No comments: