This is dedicated to most of the working class who all say that unions must, to put it mildly, disappear. How often have I heard from much of the working class “But, we don’t need unions anymore!” Almost half of Canadians just don’t understand the benefits of organized labour.
a survey done for Public Response (a spin-off from Ottawa’s Rideau Institute) suggests that about 42 per cent of Canadians think unions do little for society at large.
And yes, we’ve heard it from those who are unionized, haven’t we? Every time there is a Labour strike or lock out of some sort, we hear them ranting about how their lives are ruined — the trains just ain’t running on time. It seems that that is all most care about. They say that unionized workers earn far too much money! They should earn the same as we do. However, they never thought that perhaps they’re the ones who are underpaid and under appreciated and don’t fight for better working conditions for themselves.
They say we have labour standards now; there is no need for unions anymore. Well, as we see the power of unions declining, we’re also seeing many of those labour standards get clawed back both in Canada and in the US. Bills are being put forth in an effort to strip the working class of their rights. In the US, we have seen efforts to deregulate child labour laws. In Britain, we saw MP Philip Davies propose that the minimum wage should be reduced for the disabled in an effort to smash the welfare state and benefits to that country’s disabled. That sends a message that disabled workers are worth less than able bodied workers.
Here in Canada, ol’ Stevie Spiteful and anti-labour side kick, Lisa Raitt, who lost a brother to work related illness, have been passing bills and implementing back to work legislation, even in the private sector. She also plans on rewriting the labour code, ever so feverishly.
Stevie Spiteful’s labour day gift is driving our wages down. Jimbo Flaherty has met with his corporate buddies and lobbyists over the summer to futher Jimbonomics.
In fact, recently disclosed documents show that some of our country’s most influential CEOs and business lobbyists are asking the federal Conservative government to help them suppress wages.
This revelation comes from a Department of Finance briefing note that summarizes the proceedings of an economic policy retreat organized by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
The retreat was held last summer and attended by a long list of business leaders and representatives from right-wing think-tanks – all eager to advise members of the Harper government on how they should take advantage of their long-sought-after majority.
The assembled business audience told the finance minister that Canadian workers are overpriced and that Canada could only become truly competitive if governments and businesses addressed the “wage differential in labour markets between countries.”
In order to drive down wages, participants advocated the introduction of American-style anti-union labour laws.
For good measure, they also called for deep cuts to public services and the introduction of two-tier health care – while at the same time asking for more corporate tax cuts.
Overall, Canada has cut corporate taxes by almost 30% in 6 years.
The only problem is, the Canadian economy isn’t blasting off at all. It is still stuck in an anemic recovery. just like the United States. The Canadian economy only grew 1.8% in the second quarter of 2012. The United States on the other hand has a much higher statutory corporate tax and the economy grew at 1.7% in the same quarter. How can this be? Higher taxes hurt job creation, right? Yet both countries are stuck in the same slow recovery.
So for the last 3 years, 2009- 2012 the Canadian economy has failed to produce jobs at a healthy clip, even though corporate taxes are on the verge of being the lowest of the G7 countries.
Neo-Conservatism has destroyed North America’s manufacturing base and left workers with low paying service jobs. Politicians claim that they are creating jobs. Unfortunately, those jobs don’t pay a living wage. And so, on this Labour Day, there will be little to celebrate. Now the politicians are taking on their own workers, insisting that austerity is the way to prosperity:
For the sake of Canada’s middle class, let’s hope that the high-road vision prevails. Because if it doesn’t, more of us may end up flip-ping burgers at McDonald’s on Labour Day instead of flipping burgers at the lake.
Also, a reminder of all that unions have brought to all–unionized and non-unionized workers alike.
Here is an article all should read about the American labour history. We all need reminding if we don’t want to see those days back again.