The Federal Government is currently sponsoring a group of anti-union legislation under the guise of Private Member’s Bills.
C-525 would eliminate ‘card check’ for organizing workplaces under the Canada Labour Code. ‘Card Check’ grants Union Certification if 50%+1 of the prospective Members sign an application. This will allow employers to bribe or intimidate employees during the run-up to a vote.
C-4 would weaken an employee’s right to refuse unsafe work. Only imminent danger would be grounds for refusing work. The Federal Bargaining Agents (Unions) of the National Joint Council sum it up this way:
Bill C-4 undermines the right to collective bargaining, eliminates important human rights protections, and will make every federal workplace less safe for its workers and the Canadians they serve. The Bill was drafted with no consultation with public sector bargaining agents and eliminates labour rights gained over the last fifty years, and severely undermines the ability of federal employees to negotiate on a fair playing field. The Bill gives the federal government’s Treasury Board the unfettered right to determine what constitutes an essential service, which workers are denied the right to strike, and which collective agreements will be decided through arbitration. The Bill also changes arbitration by limiting the independence of arbitration boards. Bill C-4 gives the Minister of Labour the authority to throw out any unsafe work refusal complaint without investigation, leaving employees who refuse unsafe work open to discipline, including dismissal. If the Minister chooses, an investigation can be undertaken in secret. The impact of these changes to health and safety protection will reach far beyond the federal public service to the 1.2 million private and public sector workers covered by the Canada Labour Code.
C-377 would put onerous reporting obligations on Union, where every expenditure greater than $5,000 would have to be reported and made public. Though this information is already available to Union Members, under this Bill, Union would have to undertake the costly and time consuming task of documenting and reporting everything from pension payments to office supply purchases. This Bill was rejected by the Senate for unfairly targeting Unions while leaving corporations untouched but has been reintroduced this session by the Federal Government.
Some provincial politicians dream of emulating the worst of American Labour law.
Right to Work for Less has been a fact of life in some of the poorest US states, such as Alabama and Louisiana since the 1960s. In the last few years, some of the Rust Belt states, such as Michigan and Indiana have introduced the policy. Under Right to Work for Less, employees are not required to join a union or pay dues in a unionized workplace. Further, the Union is obligated to represent the, though they neither belong to the Union nor pay dues. This strengthens the hand of the employer leading to lower wages and benefits state wide. For those who pay dues, payroll check off is illegal and the Union has to collect the dues form each member individually. Total dues are approximately 30% less and the collecting of dues becomes an expensive proposition. Some politician, especially Tom Hudak, leader of the Conservatives in Ontario, have been especially vocal in proposing this vile medicine for Ontario as unscrupulous employers have moved from Ontario to right to work for less states.
These agents of an alien class have been bought and paid for by Corporations. These Corporations are rich, powerful and ruthless. They have only one mission maximum profit. To achieve their goal – people’s lives, the environment and even democracy are of little consequence.
People are not without their shield.
Trade Unions have been struggling to protect and extend the rights of workers to a safe workplace, collective bargaining and freedom of association for a long time. Unions fought when there seemed no hope of victory, succeeding over the last century to force the employers and their politicians to make concessions.
We have a right to belong to Unions. We have the right to bargain with the employers.
But the Corporations wanted to strip or curtail these fundamental rights guaranteed under the Canadian Constitution.
Prime Minister Harper does not attack us head on. He is using the ruse of Private Member’s Bills to push through anti-democratic, anti-union legislation. Bill C-377 was designed to hurt our Unions, Health and Welfare Plans and Pension Plans by forcing reporting of all Union expenditures over $5,000. This information is already available to members but would now have to be reported and published publically adding expense and violating the privacy of our Pensioners and Members.
True Conservatives in the Senate rejected the unfairness of a bill which made Unions report but kept Corporations and Employer Associations private behind closed doors.
Tim Hudak, the leader of the Conservatives in Ontario has publically called for the outlawing of Union checkoff for dues. Not only would the Union be forced to spend its time collecting dues, instead of representing the members. Union revenue could fall be 30%, crippling our ability to oppose Corporate excesses.
Christy Clark, our newly re-elected Premier, wants to impose a 10 year agreement on the teachers, the first of many attacks on public and private sector workers.
The Machinists are not taking this lying down. Over the next year you will all hear about the new campaign, the Fight of Our Lives. This is our opening move to stop the Anti-Union politicians in their tracks and elect a government for People not Corporations.
Some politicians are floating the idea of Right To Work (For Less) in Canada. This pernicious American idea says people do not have to pay Union dues but still get all the benefits of the Collective Agreement and representation by and at the expense of the Union. In the States the Machinists call them ‘Free Riders’.
This is an attack on the Canadian system of Labour Relations going back to 1946 when Justice Rand ruled that workers in a Unionized shop had to pay their share of the cost of Collective Bargaining. For more info see this previous post:
The IAMAW and the TWU put Workers and Union Solidarity first in signing an historic agreement to share joint certification in the new merged American Airways created from the merger of US Airways and American Airlines.
For details, please read the press release below.
material below source: http://www.goiam.org/index.php/imail/latest/11452-iam-and-twu-to-jointly-represent-30000-at-american-airlines
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) today announced a partnership to jointly represent nearly 30,000 ground workers at the “new” American Airlines following the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.
This week the two international unions have signed joint agreements to cover the Mechanic & Related, Fleet Service, and Stores employee work groups at the soon to be merged airline. The new labor partnership, to be known as the TWU/IAM Employee Association, will ask the federal National Mediation Board (NMB) to hold elections among the combined employees for each classification after the close of the American-US Airways merger. The election will formalize the joint-council agreement reached this week.
“I am proud that our two great unions put the members first in a true demonstration of solidarity,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “These agreements protect our members’ representation, pensions and seniority. Working jointly with the TWU, we will ensure both unions’ members are rewarded in this merger.”
“This agreement allows us to use our combined strength and resources on behalf of all our members as we move forward at the new American Airlines,” said TWU International President James C. Little. “Both unions have decades of experience representing workers at US Airways and American Airlines and both unions are members of the AFL-CIO.”
Following certification, negotiating committees comprised of an equal number of representatives from each union will begin working out the details of collective bargaining agreements to cover the combined carriers’ employees.
The accords reached this week, designate which union will enforce a post-merger agreement in specific cities, as well as providing a mechanism to designate contract enforcement responsibilities if the carrier expands to new markets.
The IAM currently represents Mechanic and Related, Fleet Service, and Stores employees at US Airways; TWU represents these classifications at American. TWU also currently represents aircraft dispatchers, flight crew training instructors and flight simulator engineers at both airlines. Additionally, IAM represents Maintenance Instructors at US Airways.