The 40th anniversary of AUPE is intended to be celebratory, educational and motivational. While the occasion is a great opportunity to recognize and value the work and services Alberta public employees have provided to the province for the last four decades it is also intended to demonstrate the importance of workers coming together to collectively redefine the nature of the union that represents them.
The transition from the Civil Service Association of Alberta to AUPE in 1976 was driven by a desire of workers to be viewed by their employer as employees and not servants. This transition from civil servants with a limited collective voice to workers with full collective bargaining rights backed by an organization that was willing to assert member demands was part of a cultural upheaval that was taking place locally, provincially and internationally. This reassertion of workers rights is one of the key points the AUPE Centennial Committee wants to study and profile. From Wildcat strikes in the 1970's and 80's, to anti-privatization campaigns in the 90s and 2000's AUPE has evolved dramatically as an organization.
The project will explore these themes by engaging union activists across the province to capture the stories of members that were central to these struggles. This worker-to-worker approach will be vital to helping inform our project research and promotional materials.
The celebration of AUPE’s 40th anniversary is part of a larger more ambitious project which aims to profile the centenary of AUPE and it’s predecessor the CSAofA. The 40th anniversary portion of this project will be a key component that will help us understand AUPE’s transition to the union it is today.