Alberta jail guards try to put unsafe prison behind bars

Wildcat strike put spotlight on new facility, raises questions about refusing unsafe work
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 05/22/2013

When the Alberta government announced its intention to build a $308-million remand centre to cope with a rising number of inmates in 2006, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) greeted the news with open arms.

But that sentiment shifted considerably as the project was delayed — ultimately costing $580 million — and, by 2010, claims of overcrowding and budget cuts saw the union expressing concerns about worker safety and forming information picket lines.

“These are high-security institutions and these cuts are going to put staff and inmates alike at serious risk of injury and assault,” said AUPE president Guy Smith.