Of the 30 communities we studied, we found that decent middle class family-supporting wages translate into vibrant communities. Unionized workers spend their pay cheques close to home. They buy at local businesses and bolster the tax base which, in turn, supports public works, community services and charities.
One Ontario government employee complained that her home was picketed by co-workers after she chose to work during a strike. Her name was placed on a "scab list" and circulated to her neighbours. She was followed from her home to her son's school. Messages were left on her machine by people calling themselves "the Oshawa mob."
The Conservative government has a disturbing habit of introducing significant changes to Canadian public policy by sleight of hand. Bill C-377 would force every labour organization in Canada to file detailed financial information. It is more about helping employers, the Conservative Party and special interest groups with close ties to them. If passed, Bill C-377 will tip the balance of labour relations in Canada.
Following the approval of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), the union is about to merge with Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) and will form the largest private sector union in Canada. Unfortunately, unions have set compulsory membership in various collective agreement and dues are mandatory in Canada even when unions use them for political or ideological purposes. Individual workers should also be able to choose to associate or not. It's a basic right.
On Labour Day we celebrate the many contributions of working people who helped to build our country and its economy. Despite negative comments about unions from some business groups, we do make a positive difference in the health of our communities. Our research study highlights 29 separate communities across the country to show the benefits that unionized workers provide. In short, these communities are better places to work and live.