Standing up for working people in Alberta since 1912
The Alberta Federation of Labour was founded in Lethbridge in 1912 to mobilize the labour movement's collective strength in pursuit of working people's rights.
The labour movement in Alberta was then led by coal miners from the Crowsnest Pass, Medicine Hat., and Lethbridge areas.
Among the Federation's earliest priorities were ending child labour and establishing occupational health and safety regulations (the Alberta coal fields had the highest mortality rate in the world).
The AFL was also active in the ongoing workers' struggles for a living wage and the reduction of work time to a standard 40 hour week.
Since then, the Federation of Labour has worked consistently to speak out on all the issues which concern working people - whether directly related to the workplace, or involving broader social issues like the need for public education, health care, pensions and social assistance.
We are strongly committed to continuing our 80 year struggle for working Albertans
1. Speaking out for working people
The Alberta Federation of Labour puts the interests of working people first. Federation officers and staff issue news releases and media advisories on all social, economic and workplace issues that effect labour. In 1996, for example, we issued over 65 news releases on issues as diverse as child labour, violence against women, job training programs, airline deregulation, the health care crisis, privatization of employment standards and preservation of public pensions. We also produce and distribute new releases during labour disputes in an effort to ensure that reporters and the public understand the concerns to workers involved.
2. Lobbying Government
Each year, we meet with and present briefs to the federal, provincial and local governments on current issues in an ongoing effort to influence public policy. Recently, we have submitted briefs on the Canadian Pension Plan, the operations of Canada Post, the Federal Labour Code, provincial pension administration, right-to-work laws, UI reforms, WCB premium reform, the privatization of public school support services, and health care funding.
3. Communicating with Alberta unionists
The Federation publishes its award winning newspaper Labour News ten times each year. Labour News is an open forum for the exchange of information and opinion on current issues, and is available free to affiliated unions (and on a subscription basis to the general public). The AFL also issues regular mailings to affiliated locals and activists.
4. Supporting workers' struggles
The AFL coordinates and mobilizes support for affiliated unions engaged in labour disputes. This may involve financial support, picket line support, boycotts and "hot cargo" edicts.
5. Educating union members
The Federation sponsors an annual week long school (in conjunction with the Canadian Labour Congress) with classes in labour history, labour law, steward training, coalition building, occupational health and safety and many other topics. The AFL also holds conference on issues of interest to trade unionists such as health and safety and racism in the workplace.
A Democratic Voice for Labour
The Alberta Federation of Labour is the largest and oldest labour central in the province.
Currently, the Federation represents 107,000 Alberta union members from approximately 250 locals drawn from 40 different unions.
The Federation's mandate is established by democratic vote at its biennial convention. Each affiliate is eligible to send a number of delegates based on its size, and free and lively debate is the hallmark of convention.
The Federation is administered on a day to day basis by two full-time officers elected each convention: a president and a secretary treasurer. An elected executive committee and council provide direction between conventions.
The AFL is funded solely by a per capita dues assessment levied upon affiliated union locals.
The Federation officers and staff strive to effectively represent the broader interests of unionized workers and their families in all issues which go be their families in all issues which go beyond single employer - employee relationships.
As well, the Alberta Federation of Labour has historically defended the rights of unorganized workers.
Working for a better Alberta
Most Albertans earns their livings as workers. The Alberta Federation of Labour's mandate is to defend and expand workers rights in the workplace and the greater social political and economic arenas.
Given the increasing pressure on wages and benefits and the intensity of work in the global economy; and the ongoing government assault on public and social services like health care and UIC; a strong labour movement is more critical than ever. More than anything, that means that Albertans need a strong, effective Federation of Labour.