From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Keep Your Filthy Neo-liberal Hands Off My Union

So I wake this morning to see Hudak's plan to destroy unions in Ontario and of course like clockwork the corporate media chimes in to support the cause. Don't be fooled by talk of union bosses and worker rights they use these terms to mask their true intent. the absolute destruction of unionism in Canada. Firstly there is no such animal as a union boss, democratically elected leaders yes, bosses no. As for standing up for workers rights that is simply laughable.

 First lets look at what they mean when they talk about "right to work" and eliminating the Rand formula. What they propose is that one wouldn't have to join the union in their workplace nor pay dues this despite enjoying all the benefits of belonging to the union including the right to representation. Does this seem fair to you? It certainly doesn't to me nor did it to Justice Rand hence his ruling that ushered in the Rand formula.

So lets look at some of those benefits one accrues from belonging to a union. Since the amount of dues paid varies from union to union I'll use mine for the purposes of this post. I currently pay $12.88 a week, given that on average a union member makes $5.00 an hour more than a non unionized worker, rising to $6.00 for women, I would have to work less than three hours to make up for what I pay in dues, leaving me another 37 hours plus overtime earning that extra $5.00 an hour.

As you can see on that one front alone I am profiting from paying my union dues but it doesn't end there. As a member of a union I am many times more likely to have a pension and just as importantly supplemental health benefits including dental. The former is a wise investment ensuring that I don't have to live out my retirement years in poverty as well as saving the public money as I will be less likely to need income supplements such as OAS. The latter speaks for itself, if I was forced to pay for a similar plan myself I would easily be paying many times the amount I pay in dues.

In addition I get to toil in a workplace that has clearly defined rules to the benefit of both myself and my employer. Should I feel that I have been treated arbitrarily or that my employer has violated one of these agreed upon rules I have a process that allows me to have my grievance adjudicated including access to an arbitrator if needed where I would receive legal representation through my union for that $12.88 a week.

Those are just some of the benefits I receive for a measly $12.88 yet that is what Hudak, Coyne etal wish to see destroyed. If they truly wanted to help the working class in this nation they would be advocating for the expansion of unionism not it's ruin.


  1. My union's last negotiations with management were, according to the union, extremely helpful to both sides. A real union success story.

    Canadian Actors Equity Association and PACT, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.

    They started talking informally before negotiations about the stuff that was holding both sides back. Kept it informal and non-adversarial and made huge strides on both sides.

    The truth is, the CTA (Canadian Theatre Agreement) works well for BOTH parties. I just wish more agreements like this were public so that people could see that strong agreements benefit both parties.

  2. That has been my experience throughout the last 20 years or so with both sides realizing a fair deal for all is the best outcome.

  3. Hi I was a job steward for years at the saw mill and with out union we would be still getting no wages and if you had to handle a compensation claim you can be positive you would loose. Also I know I would have seen a lot of good workers fired for no reason or very little.In most cases this would have hurt the company as much or more than the workers. unions do as much or more for big companies as they do for there membership. If you do not believe this you are kidding your self.

  4. unions do as much or more for big companies as they do for there membership

    Yes chief among those is a stable long tenured experienced therefor more productive workforce with irreplaceable know how