Trade Union Movement Pros And Cons

1991 Words8 Pages
“The trade union movement represents the organized economic power of the workers... It is in reality the most potent and the most direct social insurance the workers can establish.” Samuel Gompers. A trade union is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, improving safety standards, achieving higher pay and many benefits. Unions are a great benefit for workers and communities as being in a union delivers better pay alongside benefits and a right to fair treatment becomes enforced. Displayed by the Canadian Labour Congress’s UNION ADVANTAGE report, it shows that, on average, unionized workers across Canada earned $5.28/hour more than non-union workers. Women with…show more content…
In pursuit of a living wage, workers in Vancouver abandoned their pitiful and horrific camps, launching a strike. After striking for two months with no relief in sight, they took their case directly to Ottawa, travelling by rail and on foot becoming known as the “On to Ottawa trek” (Waiser, 2016). Sadly the government would not approve of this and the trek was stopped dead in its tracks with many union leaders once again being arrested. Consequently, this enormous strike and expedition by these workers attained the hearts and minds of Canadians and gave birth to unemployment insurance in 1940 (Canadian Labour Congress, 2015). Unemployment insurance has helped innumerable amounts of people survive when their jobs are snatched away, allowing them to provide for their families. In 1945, Ford’s Windsor complex employed 14,000 auto workers, making it Canada’s largest workplace despite being in difficult times. Many companies, including Ford, wanted to break some of the gains that had been made by unions for workers as wartime production was slowing down. Union dues were still voluntary, meaning United Auto Workers Local 200 had the near impossible task of collecting dues from 14,000 members each month. An increase in security had become essential if unions were going to survive and preserve the…show more content…
Industrial growth, the rising influence of “big business” and expanding government involvement in the social and economic life of the country demanded a strong, unified voice for working Canadians, which resulted in the creation of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1956 (Canadian Labour Congress, 2015). Because of unions, public service workers in Canada have decent pay, benefits and pensions, but they had to fight to win those gains. In 1965 the Canadian Union of Postal Workers wanted the right to bargain collectively, the right to strike, higher wages and better management. To achieve this they defied government policies and staged an illegal, countrywide strike which even to this date is known one of the largest ‘wildcat’ strikes in Canada (Laidlaw & Curtis, 1986). Lasting only two weeks they did accomplish their goal as collective bargaining rights were given to the entire public service however, full justice was not yet achieved. Exploitation of workers, especially immigrants was still running rampant in the 1960s as a plethora of workers barely earning enough to support their families. Alongside this, they lived in constant angst of deportation while working in very unsafe working conditions, however, due to the fact that many were unable to speak English, they were unaware of any rights they did have. This changed when a horrific tragedy
Get Access