By Darrell Rankin
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour will be mobilizing over the next year to defeat the reactionary policies of Premier Brad Wall. That was the firm verdict of delegates at the SFL’s annual convention, held in Regina, October 27‑30.
Close to 1,000 delegates approved a large budget for the Labour Issues Campaign, which will be fine tuned over the next few months. It will include a massive membership education effort.
According to SFL president Larry Hubich, the number one goal of the campaign will be to “mobilize our members to demand a government that is accountable to the people and that respects workers’ rights.”
“We have the power to demand a government that governs on behalf of the people of the province, not just to appease its corporate masters,” said Hubich in his opening speech.
Some delegates urged large protests to oppose the Wall government; others spoke about the need to defeat the government itself and its anti‑labour, privatization policies.
To applause, one delegate demanded the SFL get the backing of the official opposition NDP MLAs to roll back Wall’s massive “reform” of provincial labour law. Last year, the right‑wing Fraser Institute ranked the Wall government the second most anti‑union government in Canada and the U.S. combined.
There were some differences over tactics, especially the decision by the SFL executive to authorize a legal challenge to some of Wall’s worst labour laws. The debate spilled over into a leadership bid by Tom Graham, CUPE Saskatchewan President. Hubich was re‑elected for his fifth term with 59% of cast ballots, 533 to 371. Graham called for delegates to back the elected leadership in the struggle ahead.