MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - March 20, 2014) - Frontline public employees are rallying today at multiple locations throughout Alberta to defend their modest pensions against imposed cuts to their retirement savings unilaterally introduced by the Redford Government.
"Nobody voted on these cuts," Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan said on behalf of the Labour Coalition on Pensions. "By breaking the promise it made to frontline public employees, the Redford Government is sending the message that no one can trust the agreements it makes."
Before imposing big changes, McGowan said, the Redford government should engage in negotiations with frontline public employees so solutions everyone can live with can be agreed upon.
The average public-sector pension in Alberta is only about $14,000 per year, and it's troubling that the government is increasing pensions for senior managers and other insiders at the same time as it cuts the pensions of frontline workers.
McGowan said imposed pension cuts will make it more difficult for hospitals, schools, universities and other public-sector employers to find and keep skilled and dedicated frontline employees - something sure to have an impact on the quality of public services in Alberta.
"The Redford Government's most recent public announcements make it sound like they're backing down, but they're continuing to break their promise to these front-line workers by imposing pension cuts rather than negotiating them," McGowan said.
As a result, affected workers are rallying over lunchtime throughout the province today at multiple worksites in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, St. Albert, Hinton, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Peace River.
Informal smaller-scale activities are expected near many other public sector worksites throughout the province.
There will be rallies at two sites in Medicine Hat:
- Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, 666 5 Street SW
- Esplanade/Medicine Hat Public Library, 401 1 Street SE
Senior elected officers of the major Alberta public-sector unions will be available at all sites for interviews with media.
- Marle Roberts, President of Canadian Union of Public Employees Alberta Division, will attend the rally at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton
- Elisabeth Ballermann, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, will attend the rally at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton
- Heather Smith, President of the United Nurses of Alberta, will attend the rally at Red Deer Regional Hospital
- Guy Smith, President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, will attend a rally at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary
- Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour will attend a rally at University Hospital in Edmonton