PRESS RELEASE: NOVEMBER 20, 2013

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UFCW 401 celebrates Supreme Court victory for workers' rights and freedom of speech

 

Thanks to the courageous efforts of UFCW Canada Local 401, Canadian workers are celebrating a major victory for collective bargaining rights and freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down an Alberta law that tried to limit the ability of unions to communicate with the public during a strike. The top court's November 15 ruling stems from a case in which the Local Union videotaped its picket line, and those who crossed it, during a 2006 strike involving UFCW 401 and the Palace Casino at the West Edmonton Mall.

Complaints about the videotaping were filed with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, citing the province's so-called Personal Information Protection Act. An adjudicator ruled the union had violated Alberta's privacy law, but both the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and Alberta Court of Appeal set aside the Adjudicator's ruling on the basis that the law violates the Charter right to freedom of expression. The Privacy Commissioner then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, who ruled infavour of the union's right to free speech.

"This is a major win for the proud 401 activists who made a stand for fairness during the Palace Casino strike, and it's a big win for all Albertans because it forces the province's Ultra-Conservative government to change the law," says Local 401 President Douglas O'Halloran.

"This is an important win for Local 401 that strengthens the bargaining power of workers in Alberta, and across Canada," says Paul Meinema, president of the UFCW Canada National Council. "On behalf of all UFCW Canada members, we congratulate and thank Local 401 for leading the way on this important victory, and for strengthening the voice and rights of workers across the country."

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