Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Myth of the Greedy Union Thug

I can't help but notice how Stephen Harper and his Members of Parliament have been running rough shot over unionized  workers lately.  There have been several instances of the Federal Government abusing its powers to interfere with collective bargaining.  In the case of Canada Post, Harper and friends went so far as to legislate workers back to work with LESS money than the employer's final offer would have given them.  Was this a punishment for asserting their right to strike?  That can't be said for sure but the optics are bad.

On more than one occasion, during the parliamentary debate on the back to work legislation, the Members of Parliament from the Conservative Party of Canada referred to the striking members of Canada Post as "Union Thugs".  That's right, it is part of the public record that the governing party of Canada believes that anyone belonging to or supporting a union is a "Thug".

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a thug is defined as "a brutal ruffian or assassin".  Who would have thought that your local mailman was so dangerous?  That got me thinking, who else would the Conservatives consider Thugs due to their association with unions. And the answer would be surprize you. School teachers, flight attendants, pilots, public transit drivers, nurses and some daycare workers are just a few that make the list of union "Thugs".  If you were to listen to the Federal Conservative Party we should fear sending our children to school or seeking medical attention at our local hospital.  Of course this is just ludicrous, ruffians and assassins would not be hired to these positions and if they did manage to make it past the interview they would not last long in the job.

The Conservatives ares liabling large groups of everyday people for nothing more then having an organization negotiate their employment contract and withdrawing their services in the event that an agreement is not reached.

Maybe they are hoping that by stating the myth in the House of Commons as if it were fact will keep non-unionized workers afraid of unions.  The reality is that unionized workers are not over-paid.  Non-unionized workers are actually under-paid because a group has a better negotiating position than an individual. Case closed.  If the fear of unions was eliminated there would be nothing preventing workers from making the very practical decision to form more unions and negotiate better working conditions and wages for themselves.

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