In what way are Minimum Wage Increases and Changes to the Provincial Labour Code likely to affect Alberta’s Economy?

November 30, 2017 :: Gil McGowan
Moderated by Bev Muendel-Atherstone

Alberta’s minimum wage increased to $13.60 on Oct 1, 2017 and is scheduled for a further hike to $15 on Oct 1, 2018. As well, thanks to recent changes to the provincial Labour Code, it will now be a little easier for workers to exercise their constitutional right to join a union and bargain collectively with their employers.

What will that mean for Alberta businesses and workers? Arguably, the people who light their hair on fire about unions are the same ones who said tax cuts for the rich would bring prosperity for everyone (instead, they brought rising inequality); that budget cuts could end recessions (instead, they ended up making them worse); and that de-regulation would strengthen the economy (instead, it brought us things like the global financial crisis of 2008). It can be said too that the process of collective bargaining between workers and employers is good for both workers and the economy.

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the OECD have all concluded that jurisdictions who support and facilitate collective bargaining have stronger economies than those that do not, mainly because of increased consumer purchasing power. The speaker will contend that even though Alberta’s average wages are nearly 20 per cent higher than the national average, the province is likely to lead the country in investments and economic growth this coming year.

Speaker: Gil McGowan

Gil McGowan is serving his third term as the elected president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, Alberta’s largest union advocacy organization representing more than 170,000 workers from unions in both the public and private sectors. He also serves as a board member for Friends of Medicare and the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute.??Under McGowan’s leadership, the AFL has been successful in moving a number of work-related issues to the centre of public debate in Alberta, including: workplace health and safety; the use (and abuse) of temporary foreign workers; and the increasing loss of oil sands jobs as the result of raw bitumen exports. As well, McGowan played an important role in campaigns to increase the provincial minimum wage and to stop the introduction of former Premier Ralph Klein’s controversial Third Way plan for health care.

Moderator: Bev Muendel-Atherstone

Date: Thursday, November 30, 2017
Time: Noon - 1:30 pm
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $14.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea) RSVP is not necessary

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