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February 16, 2016

Posted by on in Stakeholder Relations
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We don’t talk about American politics here very often, even though the political circus taking place south of the border provides lots of opportunity for entertainment and surprise – usually thanks to “The Donald”, but others contribute to the carnival atmosphere as well.

This past weekend, Antonin Scalia died. If you can’t remember where you know that name from, he was a Justice on the Supreme Court in America.

You may be wondering why this matters to you. The American Supreme Court is made up of 9 members, all appointed for life by the president. Until Scalia’s death, the composition of the Supreme Court was 5 Republican Justices and 4 Democratic ones. Now there are 4 of each. This matters for two reasons:

First, since the president decides who will be the next Justice, is it any surprise that the Republicans, by and large, want the decision to wait until after the election, hoping that a Republican president would install a Republican Justice, restoring the imbalance that the Republicans have enjoyed for many years. Democrats (and Jeb Bush, interestingly) want Obama to make the appointment before he leaves office, despite the Republican-led Senate promising to fight any nomination he brings forward.

More immediately, this means that if there is a tie in the decisions of the Justices, then the lower court decision stands. This includes the decision that stated that allowing unions to collect fees from nonmembers for the costs of representing them violated the non-members’ freedom of speech. At the moment, the lower courts ruled in unions’ favour, but we shall see what happens.

So why are we talking about this? Because whether we like it or not, what happens in America affects us here, and what happens in American labour law can have an impact here.

We can’t affect what happens in American politics, but we can ensure that our government is a supportive of Unionized Labour as possible by getting involved ourselves. Talk to your MLAs and MPs about your concerns. Run for office yourself. Municipal, provincial or federal government all need the support and endorsement of citizens, and the Trades compose a large segment of the economy – if you don’t remember, we are responsible for the creation of the middle class – so governments want to listen to us. But they sometimes need to be reminded. So remind them. Use the links to your MLAs and MPs to start a conversation with them.


As always, please leave comments or thoughts here.

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Born and raised here in Edmonton, I started my career in communications as a teacher with Edmonton Public Schools.  While there, I began my MBA, which I completed while working as a School Jurisdiction Liaison for central and southern Alberta with Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan.  Following that, I obtained a similar role with Alberta Pensions Services Corporation, where I was responsible for the provincial Employer Education program as well as the Employer Compliance program, helping participating employers ensure that all members eligible for pension benefits received the correct benefit at the correct time.  I then joined Alberta Urban Municipalities Association as the Director of Client Development, continuing to grow as a communications and relationship management professional.

I am proud to be able to work on behalf of the BTA and all her members as the Media and Public Relations Manager as I have always had a deep belief in community and a passion for engagement and this organization clearly believes in the same thing. I have an appreciation for everything that the labour movement has been able to accomplish so far and am excited to be working with you all as we move forward.

When I am not working on promoting the BTA, I conduct leadership development workshops and volunteer with Project Adult Literacy Society (PALS) teaching math to adult students specifically with the goal of helping them pass the provincial trade entrance exam so they can then get to work in the trades and make a better life for themselves.


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