The AFL was founded in 1912, when mining workers and tradespeople in Lethbridge organized to demand the establishment of occupational health and safety regulations in Alberta's coal fields which, at the time, had the highest workplace mortality rates in the world.
Today, the Federation continues its tradition of speaking out on the issues that matter most to working people. Often these issues relate directly to the workplace. But the AFL is also active on a wide range of broader social issues - like the need for public education and public health care.
On April 9, 2013, the AFL obtained a list of all employers who had been granted the ability to hire guest workers under the high-skilled section of the Temporary Foreign Worker program. The list of more than 2,400 employers included hundreds of fast food restaurants.
On July 4, 2013 current AFL President, Gil McGowan, was charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08 in connection with a single-vehicle accident on May 25, 2013. The charges were dismissed on Sept. 26, 2013. The presiding judge said he doubted that McGowan was impaired.