EDMONTON, Alberta – Strathcona RCMP has foiled an alleged plot to carry out an unauthorized province-wide strike by all the professional members of APEGA after an engineer and a geologist apparently boasted about their plans on social media.
Richard Norton, P.Geo., 45, and James Schrumlich, P.Eng., 51, attracted investigators’ attention after they reportedly setup a “secret” website used to recruit members of the professional organization that regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta.
Although details of the website, which was taken down shortly before the two were busted, are unclear, the RCMP has concrete evidence that the 2 had growing support of at least 75% of currently registered APEGA members for the unauthorized and illegal strike that some say would have irreparably crippled Alberta’s economy. The strike was scheduled to start on Monday, October 5th, 2015.
RCMP Bureau of Intelligence and Professional Membership Analysis Commander Supt. Paul McKorskie said of the arrests,
“A member of APEGA’s EGP-SWAT team tipped off one of our officers about the illegal APEGA strike. This officer then Googled “illegal APEGA strike” which led her straight to the facebook posts and tweets made by one of the 2 individuals who was arrested earlier today. It turns out that Mr. Norton had meant to post to his secret website, but inadvertently targeted very public websites. It was then just a matter of tracking down Mr. Norton who then implicated Mr. Schrumlich.” – Commander Paul McKorskie, RCMP
According to the 420-page manifesto co-written by the two men, they were sick and tired of seeing their friends and family getting laid off seemingly willy-nilly by “big oil and gas” and were also fearful for their own jobs. The two had figured that with all of the engineers, geologists, and geoscientists in Alberta not reporting to work, that their employers would have to bow to their demands.
The duo’s primary demand was to agree to have the striking professionals return to work only after a union could be put in place to represent and protect every oil and gas office professional in the province. With a union, headed by Mr. Schrumlich, he could have operators and service companies by the balls and institute “work to rule” action whenever companies stepped out of line. He also stood to make a very large income from union dues.
SeeTV news said that the manifesto also praised Alberta Marxist Party leader, Ms. Blyth Rankin, who could not be reached for comment. It also mentioned how the 2 former APEGA members were inspired by content that they had read at 2P News.
Reaction from the head of the Alberta Petroleum Producers Association was swift and direct.
“Let me make myself very clear: Engineers, geologists, and especially geophysicists are NOT essential services as are the likes of nurses, doctors, police, and other people who actually help people. They are a bunch of lazy, over-paid, entitled jerks who think that the world owes them everything! A union?! Work-to-rule?! Give me a break. In work-to-rule action, those idiots would either be surfing the net or at a coffee shop flapping their lips about all the cool stuff they own.” – Susan Rickletoots, APPA head
Richard Norton and James Schrumlich, both of Calgary, Alberta, are in police custody and have been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to plot an illegal strike and grand idiocy. They will appear in Calgary’s Court of Queen’s Bench next Friday.