1980: Illegal strikes by Alberta government workers and nurses demonstrate worker defiance of legislation passed in 1977 that forbids strikes throughout the public service.
1980s: CNR employees go on nation-wide strike
1982: Alberta Government invokes Bill 11, the Medical Health Services Continuation Act in response to strike by United Nurses; empowers Alberta Cabinet to decertify a trade union for violation of Act
1982: Building trades break from Alberta Federation of Labour as part of national action which results in formation of the Canadian Federation of Labour
1983: Alberta’s ‘Six-Pack’ construction companies employ 24-hour lockout strategy to unilaterally terminate collective agreements with Building Trades unions
– CUPE Representative Dave Werlin is elected President of Alberta Federation of Labour; first Communist to hold such a position in Canada
– Alberta invokes Bill 44, the Labour Statutes Amendment Act, to extend draconian features of PSERA and Bill 11 to other Alberta workers;
– Alberta Federation of Labour kicks off Province-wide ‘War on 44’ campaign
– Alberta Federation of Labour organizes farm-gate pickets to support farmers faced with evictions
– Unemployed Action Committees formed across Province as part of Canadian Labour Congress program; Unemployed Action Centres established in Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary
1983: As a major recession hits Alberta, the provincial government allows unionized construction companies to set up “dummy” companies to which the union contracts do not apply.
1984: Construction workers form the “Dandelions” organization that fought to restore unionism to the construction industry.
– Alberta NDP Leader Grant Notley killed in airplane crash; MLA Ray Martin assumes leadership of the Party
1986: Major strikes across Province reach a climax in summer, led by strike/lockouts of: McMurray Independent Oil Workers (later ECWU) at Suncor; UFCW at Gainers in Edmonton, Fletchers’ Fine Foods in Red Deer, and Lakeside Packers in Brooks; IWA at Zeidler’s in Edmonton and Slave Lake, and AUPE Local 50 at the Alberta Liquor Control Board; includes a number of other actions
– 16 Members of the New Democratic Party elected to the Provincial Legislature
– Conservative Government of Brian Mulroney takes action against the Canadian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association; following successful action by US President Ronald Reagan to break the union south of the border
1986 Six-month strike by the United Food and Commercial Workers local at Gainers, during which police repression of strikers and support of scabs enrages the city’s workers, focuses attention on the province’s labour laws.
1987 Alberta Government responds to militancy of 1986 by calling for a Labour Law Review led by Labour Minister Ian Reid
– Extended strike by USWA at Damm Galvanizing in Medicine Hat ends in defeat
Alberta Federation of Labour denies CLC-NDP calls for support to the Meech Lake Accord
1988 Alberta trade unions becomes active participants in Pro-Canada Network, formed to oppose movement towards a free trade pact with the United States
1988 Members of the United Nurses of Alberta hold strike vote in defiance of Provincial ban and Labour Board orders; later go on strike
– UNA fines half a million dollars for contempt of court in strike; Friends of Nurses formed as community support group
– Ross Harvey elected in Edmonton East, first-ever NDP Member from Alberta
Federal government assault on Unemployment Insurance begins in earnest with a series of moves to curtail benefits, d decimating percentage of unemployed workers covered
– Members of newly-formed local of Canadian Auto Workers begin lengthy strike at Engine Rebuilders in Edmonton in bid for a first agreement; forced to settle for substandard contract
1989 Jan Reimer, pro-labour politician, NDP activist, and City Councillor is elected as Edmonton’s first woman mayor.