Labour Day

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Give Labour Day back to the workers Robert Fulford, Financial Post Published: Friday, August 29, 2008 Most job-holding Canadians do not belong to unions and express absolutely no wish to join. That 's the most striking and (in numerical terms) the most convincing conclusion that emerges from the Nanos Research national survey of 1,000 employees. Behind that single fact we can glimpse a major change in Canadian society, the slow but apparently inevitable death of a once-vibrant force in national life. Unions see themselves as a key to the good life: high incomes, job security, decent pensions, workplace safety. But for some reason this attractive package attracts few buyers. In a service economy unions are now offering a service that…show more content…
But why has union membership lost its allure? Non-unionized workers are, after all, outside the collective bargaining system and must often envy its achievements. Moreover, they are unable to call on union representatives when they have a quarrel with employers. Uncaring managers can dismiss them much more easily than if a union existed to protect them. Traditional logic suggests that they need unions. Their rejection of this notion must result from observation of unions in public and perhaps the experience of friends, picked up in conversation. Perhaps they believe that the benefits simply don 't justify the aggravation or the cost. Perhaps they shudder at the prospect of having their working lives permanently locked within the rules created by professional bureaucrats in unions. Perhaps they are repelled by the persistent anger and suspicion that seems to be a part of union-management relations, and by the cavalier indifference with which many unions 1 of 2 treat the withdrawal of essential public services. These are questions arising from the cultural atmosphere of society -- questions of morality, taste and independence of spirit. My own experience will seem purely marginal to, say, workers who produce auto parts. Others may find them relevant. My lifelong observation suggests a simple rule: Craft unions, once established, are soon dominated by ambitious, bureaucracy-minded
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