Group speaks out against unions’ political campaign

An employment group that represents more than 1,300 Alberta construction companies is launching an attack on a political attack campaign that’s funded by provincial union leaders.



Stephen Kushner of the Merit Contractors Association says the recent "Albertans for Change" television ads have forced unionized workers into political campaigns since they can’t opt out of paying their union dues.


The ads are currently paid for from the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Alberta Building Trades Council. Both represent working unions across the province.

"These union umbrella groups have refused to disclose how much these commercials are costing," Kushner said. "But, we know who is really paying for them — working people."

Kushner says the Canadian laws that allow union leaders to take forced membership dues to fund political campaigns are outdated, causing the National Citizens Coalition to launch their own counter ad campaign for $30,000.

"Don’t you think it’s time workers had a choice in deciding whether their union dues should be spent attacking politician?" the ad states.

Jason Foster, a director of policy with the Alberta Federation of Labour, says the ad campaign is a "new opportunity for them to raise their old grievances."

"The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that unions have the legal right to use member dues for political purposes," he said.

"We are democratic organizations. There might be a minority of members who might not agree with the political direction of a union, but they have that right to voice their concerns at general membership meetings and elections."

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  • The set of three ads criticize Premier Ed Stelmach on issues such as health care, cost of living and education.