TORIES: Calgary Laundry Workers vs Ralph Klein

A few short years into Alberta PC Premier Ralph Klein’s deficit-slashing austerity regime, Calgary’s hospital laundry workers were given devastating news: they were going to be fired. Having been pushed to the brink, they took to the streets the next day on a wildcat strike. Soon, the city would be galvanized by the strike, with sympathy strikes soon forcing Klein’s government to cancel health spending cuts and talk of a general strike in the air. 

Our episode ends with an excerpt from Yvette Lynch, laundry worker and CUPE 8 member. 

Listen to our previous episode on TORIES: Peter Lougheed, and check out our two-part series on why Ralph Klein sucked: Part 1, Part 2.

Further Reading:

Chambers, Allan. Fighting Back: The 1995 Calgary Laundry Workers Strike. Edmonton: Alberta Federation of Labour and Alberta Labour History Institute, 2012..

Foster, Jason. “Revolution, Retrenchment, and the New Normal: The 1990s and Beyond.” In Working People in Alberta: A History, edited by Alvin Finkel, 205–241. Edmonton: AU Press, 2012.

Reshef, Yonaton, and Sandra Rastin. Unions in the Time of Revolution: Government Restructuring in Alberta and Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.

Taylor, Jeff. “Labour in the Klein Revolution.” In The Trojan Horse: Alberta and the Future of Canada, edited by Gordon Laxer and Trevor Harrison, 301–313. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1995.

Building a Community Movement for Better Transit feat. James Wilt: Saturday, March 18th | University of Alberta. RSVP:

Declaring Sovereignty

Alberta, under the incredible leadership of Premier Danielle Smith, has declared sovereignty — or rather, proclaimed itself “sovereign within a united Canada,” whatever that means. What even is sovereignty? How might it to relate to Indigenous sovereignty? Who even wants this?

The Free Trade Debate: Then and Now

In the 1980s and 1990s, free trade and economic integration were intensely debated topics and the subject of debate in national elections, and generally opposed by the political left. Most recently, right-populist political formations — like Trump and Brexit — have resurfaced the issue of free trade, critiquing it for their own purposes. Why is it that nobody except the political right wants to talk about free trade anymore, especially when our countries have strategic decisions on the horizon— like resourcing pandemic responses and mitigating climate change?

Canadian vs U.S. Unions

What explains the drastic differences between labour unions in Canada and the United States? Why is U.S. union density roughly one-third that of Canada’s, despite the similarities both share? How have different political and legal regimes in the respective countries shaped labour’s efforts? Team Advantage explores all this and more in this hour-long discussion. When you’re done, watch the NFB’s Final Offer.

Inflation Fantasies

What’s inflation and why does it happen? If labour costs go up 1% but consumer prices go up 4.8%, who’s pocketing that difference? Why do the CEOs of big corporate banks seem to care so much about inflation? Team Advantage explores the hottest economic phenomenon of 2022.

Faculty on Strike!

The first faculty strike in Alberta’s history has begun, with members of the Concordia University of Edmonton Faculty Association braving frigid temperatures and taking to the picket line on January 4th. Why is the Concordia University of Edmonton purchasing mansions when their faculty are amongst the lowest paid in the sector? Glynis Price of the Concordia university of Edmonton Faculty Association joins Team Advantage to discuss the strike and the future of post-secondary education in Alberta.

Follow @CUEfacultyassoc @CUEFAVoice and @SSCUEFA for information and updates, visit the faculty association website at, and tell Concordia’s President to put students and faculty before profits.

Austerity in Saskatchewan: Roy Romanow’s NDP

What happens when sensible social democrats pick up the pieces after a terrible, no-good conservative government ruins the province? Team Advantage examines the reign of Saskatchewan NDP Premier Roy Romanow from 1991-2001, who oversaw the closure of rural hospitals and fostered the skills of a young Janice McKinnon as his Finance Minister. What does the all-party austerity consensus look like when it’s orange? Featuring special guest Doug Nesbitt, whose work can be found at and on twitter at @StandingTheGaff.

100 Years of the Communist Party of Canada

What is the history of Canada’s second-oldest political party, and how does it inform their politics today? In this in-depth examination of the Communist Party of Canada, Team Advantage serves up a broad historical overview of the Party’s history, and considers what role the CPC could play in the struggle for socialism today.

Follow our guest Doug Nesbitt at @StandingTheGaff and at