Greetings to EDLC School
Thursday, February 26, 1998
Over the past few months, I've sometimes had a difficult time
telling the difference between fact and fiction.
This may sound a little strange -- but let me tell you what I mean.
One the one hand, I have people in the media and in the business community telling me
that the labour movement is shrinking in Alberta -- they say we are a movement in decline.
Then, I come to events like this -- and I see a lecture theatre full of dedicated trade
I see new faces and some old faces. I see teachers and students. But most of all I see
working Albertans who are ready, willing and able to stand up for their rights in the
So, clearly, the media and the business community have it wrong and we've got it right. All of you are living proof that the labour movement is alive and well in Alberta.
Tonight, I'd like to congratulate the EDLC for organizing this school. I'm told that almost 200 students have enrolled in the various courses. If that's not a record, it must be pretty close.
What this high enrollment tells me is that unions in Alberta are more active and dynamic than ever. It tells me that union members realize that they have an important role to play in the workplace and in their communities.
More and more, Albertans are coming to realize that unions are among the only institutions left in our society that are strong enough and commited enough to stand up to the Ralph Kleins and the Conrad Blacks of the world.
We are one of the only allies that ordinary working people have.
That's why this school and other events like it are so important. Unions have an important job to do in our society. But to do that job properly, we must educate our members and the public. We must learn the skills and develop the confidence to organize and mobilze.
This weekend you will be given many of the tools you will need to make your union stronger. You will learn how to be an effective steward; you will learn about effective communications; and you will learn how to anticipate and deal with hostile management strategies.
By Saturday afternoon, you will all be better prepared to meet the challenges that confront as union activists.
So, on behalf of your 117,000 union sisters and brothers in the Alberta Federation of Labour, I would like to thank you for being here. And I would like to congratulate you for taking the time to develop you skills.
Your union will be stronger for it -- the entire labour movement will be stronger for it.
Solidarity! And good luck in your classes!