Walter Gerlach – Directing Business Representative
Sisters and Brothers,
I would like to start by saying that every single one us shares something special. What we share is that we all work in a unionized workplace; recent polling tells us that if given the choice a majority of Canadians would prefer to work in a unionized workplace. The biggest hurdle facing the unorganized Canadian worker today is the fear instilled by the employer and the mainstream media, by suggesting a multitude of fictional scenarios, that all end in the employee losing their job or spending their future on Strike, if they are successful in organizing themselves into a Union.
Recent polling also identified that our Union advantage afforded us with another opportunity that the majority of Canadians would also like to be part of if given the chance and that is to be a member of a defined benefit Pension Plan. There are few employers that offer a defined benefit pension plan today, in fact they are all but extinct other than in unionized workplaces. Many of our Collective Agreements in the province of British Columbia contain a defined benefit pension plan and for those without this benefit we have been working diligently at negotiating this benefit into any new contract settlement.
The majority of us inherited the benefits of a collective agreement when we started working at a workplace certified with the Machinists Union. In essence we are walking on a bridge that was built by the sacrifices of those that came before us, this brings me to the question what will we do or can we do to build a bridge for those that will come after us. I believe one of the answers to this question is to organize the unorganized; this accomplishes the goal of helping those Canadians who have the desire to work in a unionized workplace. This also strengthens our existing unionized workplaces by creating a higher rate of union density in a given sector which leads to more bargaining power at the negotiating table.
If given the opportunity, think about taking the time to talk about your unionized workplace and the advantages of working with a Collective Agreement on your side. If you choose to engage those unorganized Canadian workers that you meet and share the values of our union and our advantage, you will find that you are passing it on.