Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Unions have the spotlight for Labour Day

Labour Day is a good time to remember the workers in our society who are the backbone of Canada. There have been many songs dedicated to the average on the street worker.

We like to think of labour as the type of worker personified in the Garth Brooks song - American Honky Tonk Bar

Although this type of image works well for the union movement in Canada it is far from the reality of their membership. Most unions in Canada are public sector unions. These unions receive compensation packages far and above the average Canadian. Most will retire with platinum pensions valued close to $1 Million and health care benefits most North Americans can only dream of. All funded by you as a taxpayer!

This all makes for great rhetoric. The Labour Day message of the OFL states that
Don’t try to tell one of the 222,000 Ontarians who lost their job in the past year that this recession is over.
How many government workers do you know that lost a job last year?
And don't try to tell those seniors who have seen their pensions evaporate.
How many public sector workers saw their pensions reduced?
There is no recovery until there is a jobs recovery. There is no recovery until those who cannot find work are able to draw from the EI program that they helped fund. There is no recovery until pensions are secured and our seniors can enjoy their retirement years in comfort and dignity.
Lets all get government jobs and there will be no worries!
I guess maybe in addition to pension envy I am suffering from union envy. Bill's pension envy

The Toronto Star ran an article about the changeover of the leadership of the CUPE and OFL.
The article points out:
The CAW, Canada's largest private sector union, has not been affiliated with the OFL since 2000
The membership of the OFL is almost exclusively government workers.

The public sector in Canada employees almost 3.4 million or 24% of all employees in Canada. Statscan points out there are 4.5 million unions members in Canada. It would seem that all but about 1.1 million union members in Canada work for the public sector.

One interesting blog was posted about the changing leadership at the OFL. It is from Canada Free Press

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