‘We need recession-proof jobs’: dozens of Calgary unions call for change

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CALGARY – Amid high unemployment, record provincial deficit and COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of Calgary unions are calling on province to improve what they call ‘social safety net “. “Calgary’s unemployment rate is 14.4 percent, the worst among any major city in the country,” Alexander Shevalier, president of the Calgary and District Labor Council (CDLC) said in a press release.

“We need recession-proof jobs.”

The CDCL says Alberta should focus on a strategy of job creation, economic diversification and paid sick leave.

“COVID-19 has also highlighted the need for paid sick leave,” Shevalier added

“Workers shouldn’t have to choose between getting better and paying rent. Paid sick leave should be the cost of doing business. It is a necessity.

In late August, the Government of Alberta released its first quarter financial update highlighting the largest deficit in the province’s history – $ 24.2 billion forecast for 2020-21. This figure is almost $ 16.8 billion more than originally forecast in Budget 2020. Alberta’s debt is expected to reach $ 99.6 billion.

When it comes to a recovery strategy, Shevalier said it must include economic diversification and be inclusive for all workers, regardless of age or background.

According to the CDLC, unemployment is higher for workers who identify as black (17.6 percent), Arabs (17.9 percent) and Southeast Asians (16.6 percent) compared to workers who don’t.

The CDLC works with 60 local affiliated unions with around 44,000 members. The organization is the local chapter of the Canadian Labor of Congress, which represents 1.5 million unionized workers across the country.

CTV News has contacted the Government of Alberta and is awaiting a response.

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