Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Unions and Democracy

Susan Martinuk has a great piece in the Financial Post today on union boss hypocrisy.

She was reacting to National Union of Public and General Employees president James Clancy who was whining about what he called "anti-democratic" labour laws, including interestingly enough, laws which call for secret ballot votes on unionization!

Since when is a secret ballot anti-democratic?

Writes Martinuk:

A secret ballot vote is a given part of the democratic process. Yet unions still deny this and seek to utilize the blatantly anti-democratic practice of card signing to determine union certification. This allows union reps to pressure and harass workers individually and at home. It leaves the door open for misinformation and coercion and ensures that workers who would oppose a union are kept out of the loop about the union drive. Some employees don't even know a union certification drive is happening until they are unionized -- there are no requirements for the union to inform all workers of a union drive or to hold an open, public debate when using card certification.

This is exactly what happened to The Lively Seven, a group of women who found themselves unionized against their will, thanks to the lack of a true democratic process.

The National Citizens Coalition is helping these women fight for their rights in the courts, but that is not a true solution.

What Canada needs are laws that respect the individual freedoms of unionized employees. We also need union bosses who truly respect those freedoms.

As Martinuk writes: "If unions truly want to preserve democracy, they first have to practice it."

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