Thursday, 13 October 2011

Fighting Back: What Unions Do Well, Or Why Stephen Harper Would Like to Defang Them

A somewhat conservative American friend was musing the other day about why it has taken so long for protest too build about the way big corporations and the right wing are blocking nearly every remotely progressive measure in the US. My answer was that corporations, including banks, have been spending millions and millions to convince us they are our friends. That they aren't takes a while to realize.

But there's also the fact that unions--one of the few sectors of society to have political savvy and (sometimes) funds needed to fight corporate interests and the guts to point the finger of blame when govenments and buiness do stupid, right wing things--have come under attack from the forces of darkness over the last decades.

So it probably should not be surprising that Stephen Harper's Conservatives are trying to erode unions' influence further. The most recent incident is the threat to change the labour code in response to strikes by Air Canada personnel. Most observers agree that the changes would make it much harder to go on strike.

But just as maybe the tide may be changing in the US, unions here are beginnning to fight back. Postal workers will be taking the government to court as a prostests of the settlement imposed on them last June which actually offered less than the two bargaining parties had previuosly agreed. Good on them!

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