Workers in the oil and gas industry have been used as a talking point by the Alberta NDP and United Conservative Party, both parties say they are the best choice for workers to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built and create more jobs in the industry. Albertans go to the polls on Tuesday, April 16.
Robert Lee is an industrial electrician and oilfield automation programmer from Blackie, Alberta. He also teaches drop-in classes on handyman and home renovation topics for several continuing education facilities in Calgary. He’s a married father of two, has worked as an electrician for 13 years, and was one of the first people in Canada to be CSA certified in solar power installation.
He has worked on and off in the oil sands and provides a bit of a window into the realities of working in the Patch, and why strong unions and labour standards matter for oil patch workers, and the challenges involved in building solidarity between migrant and non-migrant workers.