Friday, February 24, 2006

Court Rules Against Freedom In Workplace

It looks like union bosses are cracking the whip when it comes to disciplining workers who choose to cross picket lines.

That’s not so shocking.

What is shocking is that the courts are helping them do it.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Small Claims is ordering four members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada to pay the union thousands of dollars in fines.

PSAC imposed the fines because the workers dared to cross the picket line during a 2004 federal strike.

This is the first time a union in Ontario has levied such a fine.

And it likely won’t be the last.

It’s all pretty depressing.

It’s bad enough workers are forcibly unionized and compelled to pay union dues against their will, but now the courts are saying they don’t even have the right to cross a picket line.

Whatever happened to notions like democracy and freedom?


Miles Lunn said...

This is actually a pretty tough one. The right to cross the picket line does sound like a good idea, but lets also remember workers do have the right to choose not to work at a unionized job. It could be argued that although joining a union maybe mandatory for certain jobs, workers still have the choice to work at that job. If one dislikes unions so much, there are plenty of non-union jobs they can work at. That being said, I don't think there should be laws against crossing the picket line, that should utimately be up to the union and company to set down the rules. And sometimes if you believe in something strongly you have to be willing to take the consequences. If one truly feels the strike is wrong it may be worth crossing the picket line even if one faces a fine simply to make their point.

Where I do have the big problem though is when people are prevented from crossing the picket line during wildcat strikes. Here in BC, teachers are prohibited from striking, but last October they broke the law and struck anyways and in that case since the union was breaking the law, individuals should be allowed to cross the picket line.

Anonymous said...

I had read an article about this in my local paper (Ottawa Citizen). It was so badly written, it sounded like they were being fined for not picketing (as opposed to being fine for crossing the picket line). Glad to know it's the latter and not the former.

I'm in total agreement of they're being fined. No one can afford the loss of pay, but everyone benefits from any increases won during the strike. If they don't want to picket, they can stay home. When you work in an unionized environment, you should save some money in the event you go on strike. Or else, work in a non-union environment. Just like a lot of Canadians, these workers wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

Anonymous said...

teachers and their unions are in a world all their own miles. I am acquainted with teachers who detest their union privately and sometimes the reason for their job action, but collectively that old lemming mentality hits them where it the pocketbook. During Ontario's Bill 160 circus and illegal teachers' strike I was acquainted with many teachers who crossed their lines only to be blackballed and punished for putting the needs of the students first.......go figure.

Anonymous said...

Freedom of choice! My view is that I pay dues for the union to negotiate on my behalf, not to force me to strike.