Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Union Dust up!

Unions have taken advantage of poor economic times to strong arm governments into luxurious settlements. It is a strategy that may have been misdirected. Especially as we are just around the corner from a major pension war.

Recently the NUPGE The National Union of PUBLIC and General Workers published an article complaining about the treatment of unions in Canada's media.
"Over the past couple of months, it’s been one offensive, union-bashing column or editorial after another,"

"Perhaps I missed something while taking some time off with family earlier this summer. How did 800,000 hard-working unionists in this province suddenly become such a drag on the economy?"
"Nor are they keen to publish stories on the successful negotiation of new and improved collective agreements for some 90,000 public sector workers in OPSEU over the past 12 months - without one strike.

NUPGE may be right about the press coverage that they have been receiving but they misunderstand the reasons for it.

The Toronto Star reported on unions in an article called Myths and reality of the union movement. The article cited a few myths that the unions live by.
unions do not represent the entire working world. They are only interested in defending the wages and benefits of their members, most of the time at the expense of other, non-unionized, workers.
even though they may claim to support the interests of children, students or patients, in reality there always is a demand for better wages or benefits behind almost every dispute.
they live in isolation. Most of the time, their demands are made with no consideration for the conditions of other workers in the same country, not to mention the reality in other parts of the world.

The unions cannot understand the anger that is directed at them?

The unions are the ones who began the battle and it will be them that have to end the battle. Even those who are sympathetic to the unions and understand them think they have gone overboard. One of these articles includes the Globe and Mail editorial called Get down to the strike 'essentials'

In reality the fight is public sector unions against the taxpayer. I wrote about this last month in my Canada's Public Sector Unions at War with Canadian Taxpayers

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