Working People in Alberta traces the history of labour in Alberta from the period of First Nations occupation to the present. Drawing on over two hundred interviews with labour leaders, activists, and ordinary working people, as well as on archival records, the volume gives voice to the people who have toiled in Alberta over the centuries. In so doing, it seeks to counter the view of Alberta as a one-class, one-party, one-ideology province, in which distinctions between those who work and those who own are irrelevant. Workers from across the generations tell another tale, of an ongoing collective struggle to improve their economic and social circumstances in the face of a dominant, exploitative elite. Their stories are set within a sequential analysis of provincial politics and economics, supplemented by chapters on women and the labour movement and on minority workers of colour and their quest for social justice.
Alvin Finkel is a professor of Canadian history at Athabasca University, where he has taught since 1978. Best known as the co-author (with Margaret Conrad) of the two-volume History of the Canadian Peoples, his main areas of research and teaching are the history of social policy, labour history, and Western Canadian history.