Municipal Election 2021

The municipal election is about the stuff that affects us every day – the roads we drive on, the parks we visit, the rec centers we work out in, the transit system that transports us, our libraries, fire, police – all this important work happens at the municipal level. The outcome of this election and the future decisions that will follow are critically important for us municipal workers. This is our opportunity to influence who our employer actually is. Who else gets a chance to do that? Historically Edmonton voter turnout is low, around 31% in 2017! With the turnout so low, our impact can be much higher, just by getting out to vote.
With that in mind, your executive set out, early in the year, to identify who we could count on to work with us on our important issues – job security, a decent contract, better equipment and better service. We interviewed many candidates at our Board meetings. We participated in the Coalition’s candidate screening effort, and in the Labour Council’s screening process. Then we took the time to spend all day debating each candidate, for each ward and for the mayor.
This was not done lightly and we did not always agree. In the end, we came up with a list of Executive endorsements that we are very confident will be the best for us and the best for Edmonton.
For Mayor, we endorsed Amarjeet Sohi. He’s one of us who has worked up through the ranks. When was the last time Edmonton had a Mayor who did that? Starting as a DATS contractor working seven days a week for subsistence level wages, Sohi gradually raised himself to the level of Federal cabinet Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure. Having that kind of connection into the Federal Cabinet, right to the highest levels of government in the country is exactly what we need in a Mayor. He can put pressure on Ottawa to get the operating funding for transit systems. Sohi understands our work, our challenges because he has been there with us. At both a local and a national level, Sohi clearly has the experience and skills to best understand and support our work and working conditions.
To be sure, many thought Mike Nickel would have been an ally in the Mayor’s chair. Mike speaks well of the workforce and tells us that he supports us. However, Mike is not a collaborator. He has alienated most of the existing council. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. How can any Mayor expect to advance an agenda with that kind of relationship with Council?
After the Executive made its endorsement decisions in early September, Mike Nickel called me at 10:30 on a Sunday evening so I could explain how the Executive came to its decision. Mike erupted at me and started yelling at me and swearing at me, then hung up. Subsequently, Mike and his campaign manager shouted and yelled at me in a meeting of the Coalition Presidents. He made wild and libelous accusations, suggesting that Sohi had promised me a job in his office and that the endorsement was not an executive decision but rather a personal one.
Most recently, Mike Nickel’s campaign has filed a complaint to Elections Edmonton against ATU for what he claims is illegal Third Party Advertising (referring to the mailer cards Edmonton ATU members have received). Nickel suggests that these were a general public advertising distribution. All of the Union’s activities are completely legal, above board and transparent. Mike could have called me up and asked me about it. I could have easily explained. Remember, he DID call me up to yell at me, so we know he has my number. Instead, he chose to file a complaint with Elections Edmonton AND to cc the media.
This is not the kind of Mayor we need. We need a stable, professional and balanced Mayor who understands what it’s like to be a worker for the City. That’s why I’m urging your vote on October 18 for Amarjeet Sohi.
He’s one of us and he’s on our side.
You can find out your ward or where to vote: Click here
In Solidarity,
Steve Bradshaw
President/Business Agent
ATU Local 569