The Wildrose Alliance continued their attack on working people in Alberta today following the announcement that the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) had reached a tentative deal with the provincial government for a new contract. The new contract will provide government workers a 4% raise in 2012, a lump sum payment this year, and another in 2012 as well as providing some changes to health benefits and creating some sort of mechanism for addressing staffing shortages.
Of course the usual suspects like the Canadian Taxpayers federation are throwing a hissyfit, complaining about the government needing to limit spending, while that the wage increase government sector workers are going to receive will likely be below the increases the average employee in Alberta will see in the next couple of years.
Predictably, Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith issued a statement decrying the agreement. She complained about AUPE receiving pay increases above inflation (again ignoring the reality of the increases in Alberta Weekly Earnings over the last few years) while simultaneously claiming she was criticizing the government, not AUPE. Apparently attacking the benefits and pay provincial workers earn is not the same thing as attacking the workers themselves.
This is par for the course for a party that has made it clear that they will do everything in their power to limit the rights of working people in Alberta. Wildrose Alliance policy includes support for taking the right to strike away form public sector workers, making it harder for employees to form a union, and making it easier for employers to get out of the Worker’s Compensation system. The Wildrose Alliance also advocates for the privatization of healthcare and other government services, which ultimately do not lead to savings on the governments part. Privatization leads to the government spending as much, or more as they already do with private companies (often past donors to the governing party) receiving massive profits while paying employees less than the government would have. Privatization does not save taxpayers money, it just puts taxpayer money into the pockets of companies providing the private service, while also keeping money out of the pockets of employees.
I’m not saying that government should always give unions everything they’re asking for, but the agreement between AUPE and the government is more than reasonable, and probably already learning more in favour of the government than AUPE. The fact that the Wildrose Alliance is criticizing a labour deal made by a Conservative government shows just how right wing they are, and demonstrates exactly how little working people in Alberta can expect to benefit from a Wildrose Alliance government.